Women's Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa

69 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2018

See all articles by Oriana Bandiera

Oriana Bandiera

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Niklas Buehren

World Bank

Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Markus Goldstein

World Bank

Selim Gulesci

Bocconi University - Department of Economics

Imran Rasul

University College London - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Munshi Sulaiman

BRAC-Africa

Date Written: December 2018

Abstract

Women in developing countries are disempowered: high youth unemployment, early marriage and childbearing interact to limit their investments into human capital and enforce dependence on men. We evaluate a multifaceted policy intervention attempting to jump-start adolescent women's empowerment in Uganda, a context in which 60% of the population are aged below twenty. The intervention aims to relax human capital constraints that adolescent girls face by simultaneously providing them vocational training and information on sex, reproduction and marriage. We find that four years post-intervention, adolescent girls in treated communities are 4.9pp more likely to engage in income generating activities, corresponding to a 48% increase over baseline levels, and an impact almost entirely driven by their greater engagement in self-employment. Teen pregnancy falls by a third, and early entry into marriage/cohabitation also falls rapidly. Strikingly, the share of girls reporting sex against their will drops by close to a third and aspired ages at which to marry and start childbearing move forward. The results highlight the potential of a multifaceted program that provides skills transfers as a viable and cost effective policy intervention to improve the economic and social empowerment of adolescent girls over a four year horizon.

JEL Classification: I25, J13, J24

Suggested Citation

Bandiera, Oriana and Buehren, Niklas and Burgess, Robin and Goldstein, Markus P. and Gulesci, Selim and Rasul, Imran and Sulaiman, Munshi, Women's Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa (December 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13386, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3302628

Oriana Bandiera (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7519 (Phone)
+44 20 7055 6951 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Germany

Niklas Buehren

World Bank ( email )

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United States

Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/rburgess/index_own.html

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Markus P. Goldstein

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Selim Gulesci

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

Imran Rasul

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7679 5853 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2775 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Munshi Sulaiman

BRAC-Africa ( email )

Liberia

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