Measuring Autonomy: Evidence from Bangladesh

Vaz, A., Alkire, S., Quisumbing, A., and Sraboni, E. (2019). ‘Measuring autonomy: Evidence from Bangladesh’, APSDJ 25.2, pp. 21–51.

46 Pages Posted: 14 May 2021

See all articles by Ana Vaz

Ana Vaz

University of Oxford

Sabina Alkire

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Esha Sraboni

Brown University - Department of Sociology

Date Written: February 20, 2019

Abstract

The search for rigorous, transparent, and domain-specific measures of empowerment that can be used for gendered analysis is ongoing. This paper explores the value-added of a new measure of domain-specific autonomy. This direct measure of motivational autonomy emanates from the ‘self-determination theory’ (Ryan and Deci, 2000). We examine in detail the Relative Autonomy Index (RAI) for individuals, using data representative of Bangladeshi rural areas. Based on descriptive statistical analyses, we conclude that the measure and its scale perform broadly well in terms of conceptual validity and reliability. Based on an exploratory analysis of the determinants of autonomy of men and women in Bangladesh, we find that neither age, education, nor income, are suitable proxies for autonomy. This implies that the RAI adds new information about the individuals and is a promising avenue for further empirical exploration as a quantitative yet nuanced measure of domain-specific empowerment.

Keywords: Domain-Specific Measures of Empowerment, Bangladesh, Relative Autonomy Index (RAI)

Suggested Citation

Vaz, Ana and Alkire, Sabina and Quisumbing, Agnes R. and Sraboni, Esha, Measuring Autonomy: Evidence from Bangladesh (February 20, 2019). Vaz, A., Alkire, S., Quisumbing, A., and Sraboni, E. (2019). ‘Measuring autonomy: Evidence from Bangladesh’, APSDJ 25.2, pp. 21–51. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3845021 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3845021

Ana Vaz

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Sabina Alkire (Contact Author)

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative ( email )

Queen Elizabeth House
3 Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3TB
United Kingdom

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Esha Sraboni

Brown University - Department of Sociology ( email )

Providence, RI
United States

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