Relative power: Explaining the effects of food and cash transfers on allocative behaviour in rural Nepalese households.
Harris-Fry H, Saville NM, Paudel P, Manandhar DS, Cortina-Borja M, Skordis J.
Journal of development economics. 2022; 154(): 102784

Abstract

We estimate the effects of antenatal food and cash transfers with women's groups on household allocative behaviour and explore whether these effects are explained by intergenerational bargaining among women. Interventions were tested in randomised-controlled trial in rural Nepal, in a food-insecure context where pregnant women are allocated the least adequate diets. We show households enrolled in a cash transfer intervention allocated pregnant women with 2-3 pp larger shares of multiple foods (versus their mothers-in-law and male household heads) than households in a control group. Households in a food transfer intervention only increased pregnant women's allocation of staple foods (by 2 pp). Intergenerational bargaining power may partly mediate the effects of the cash transfers but not food transfers, whereas household food budget and nutrition knowledge do not mediate any effects. Our findings highlight the role of intergenerational bargaining in determining the effectiveness of interventions aiming to reach and/or empower junior women.



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