Topics on gender and child development outcomes


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This dissertation covers contemporary topics on gender and child development outcomes in developing countries. The first chapter, Women’s status in developing countries: a new measure and children’s development outcomes, highlights the limitations of traditional measures of women’s status and makes a case for a multidimensional approach that is context and concept relevant. The proposed measure draws mainly from conceptual works by Bina Agarwal (1997) and Naila Kabeer (1999). The composite index of women’s status and its independent dimensions are estimated using data from the Ghana Socioeconomic Panel Survey I and II. The empirical analysis reveals that the indices are associated with traditional measures of women’s status with the expected sign and are also good predictors of child health and cognitive outcomes. Further analysis reveals that independent dimensions affect child development outcomes differently. The findings of this study contribute to the ongoing search for a comprehensive measure of women’s status and provide new insights into how the subject should be approached, especially in developing countries.

The second chapter is titled Do cash and in-kind food transfers have the same effect on children’s welfare? Identifying mechanisms using a cluster Randomized Control Trial in Northern Uganda. The chapter presents a theoretical framework demonstrating how social assistance programs may generate different welfare outcomes for children. The model predicts that efforts to increase children’s welfare will be more effective if they shift the balance of power in the household in favor of the mother. This prediction is validated using data from an RCT in northern Uganda to assess the relative effectiveness of cash and food transfers in improving children’s nutritional outcomes. The empirical findings show that cash transfer to the mother is more effective at improving children’s welfare outcomes than in-kind food transfers of equivalent value. The study highlights the role of preference differences, social norms, and bargaining power in determining the success of child-focused interventions.

The third chapter, Elected Local Female Leaders and Gender Stereotypes, examines the effects of exposure to competitively elected local female politicians in Ghana on women’s perception of themselves (self-efficacy) and men’s perceptions of women (gender stereotypes). The chapter uses data from the 2010 district assembly elections in Ghana and the Ghana Socioeconomic Panel Survey I and II. Using a difference-in-differences with propensity score matching (PSM), we find that exposure to elected female leaders over one election cycle increases women’s self-efficacy but has no effect on gender stereotypes. The finding suggests that while there is an opportunity to promote female participation in leadership to increase women’s self-efficacy, complementary programs may be necessary to improve gender stereotypes.

Tabakis, Chrysostomos
KDI School, Ph.D in Development Policy
Issue Date
KDI School
Thesis(Doctoral) -- KDI School: Ph.D in Development Policy, 2022
Sex role--Africa; Sexism--Africa; Child welfare
- Chapter 1: Women’s status – A New Measure and Child Development Outcomes

- Chapter 2: Do Cash and In-kind Food Transfers Have the Same Effect on Children’s Welfare? Identifying Mechanisms Using Data from a Cluster Randomized Control Trial in Northern Uganda

- Chapter 3: Elected Local Female Leaders and Gender Stereotypes
180 p
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