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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 6 No. 2 (May 2014)

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Health and the Political Agency of Women

Article Citation

Bhalotra, Sonia, and Irma Clots-Figueras. 2014. "Health and the Political Agency of Women." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 6(2): 164-97.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.2.164

Abstract

We investigate whether women's political representation in state legislatures improves public provision of antenatal and childhood health services in the districts from which they are elected, arguing that the costs of poor services in this domain fall disproportionately upon women. Using large representative data samples from India and accounting for potential endogeneity of politician gender and the sample composition of births, we find that a 10 percentage point increase in women's representation results in a 2.1 percentage point reduction in neonatal mortality, and we elucidate mechanisms. Women's political representation may be an underutilized tool for addressing health in developing countries.

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Online Appendix (179.15 KB) | Download Data Set (19.87 MB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (181.19 KB)

Authors

Bhalotra, Sonia (U Sussex)
Clots-Figueras, Irma (U Carlos III de Madrid)

JEL Classifications

D72: Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
I12: Health Production
I15: Health and Economic Development
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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