Bargaining to work: the effect of female autonomy on female labour supply

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP04/2018
 
Publication date: March 2018
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Department of Economics and ReSEP, Stellenbosch University)
Dieter von Fintel (Department of Economics and ReSEP, Stellenbosch University)
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Mannheim)
 
Abstract:

Female labour supply is an important outcome for measuring gender equality and is therefore regarded as one of the key indicators for women's empowerment. The empowerment of women through greater labour force participation is well documented in the literature. We argue, however, that the relationship between female labour force participation and empowerment is endogenous. We instead turn our attention to understanding whether greater female household autonomy causes participation in the labour market in the first place. Using the roll out of banking cards associated with the South African government cash transfers as an exogenous shock, we show that financial inclusion improves women's decision making power in the household. In response to this redistribution of bargaining power in the household, we provide evidence of increased female labour force participation. Our results show that becoming a primary decision maker leads to a 92 percentage point increase in the probability that women participate in the labour market.

 
JEL Classification:

C36, C78, D13, J16, J22

Keywords:

Female labour force participation, SASSA cards, female autonomy, non-cooperative household bargaining model, South Africa, NIDS

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9 December 2019
The woes at state owned enterprises continued to dominate domestic news headlines last week. Not only was SAA put in business rescue, but Eskom load shedding returned late in the week, highlighting the operational difficulties that the power utility continues to face. The mood was not lifted by the latest GDP data, which revealed that the economy contracted...

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