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Co-Operation, Conflict and Power: Households, Markets and the Policy Domain

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Hanover A
Hosted By: International Association for Feminist Economics
  • Chair: Mieke Meurs, American University

To Beat or Not to Beat: Determinants of Domestic Physical Violence in Egypt

Perihane Badr
Cairo University
Racha Ramadan
Cairo University


Egypt lags behind in key indicators of women's wellbeing including female labor force participation, political inclusion as well as access to health and sanitation for example. According to the United Nations Human Development Report (EHDR) 2014, Egypt Ranks
130 on the Gender Equality Index Among 187 countries, showing an alarming situation that needs more attention. Although some
progress had been achieved with a reduction in maternal and child mortality and enhanced quality of childcare, in addition to
improvements in female literacy and access to education, there is more that needs to be done (El Ashmawy, 2010).
According to Egypt Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) 2014, one-third of Egyptian women have ever experienced some form of
spousal violence, with 25 percent saying they were subjected to physical violence, 19 percent emotional violence, and 4 percent
sexual violence. And this type of violence against women was perpetrated by no other than their domestic partners who are
considered the most common perpetrators of violence. Moreover, half of ever-married women aged between 15-49 in Egypt often
justified wife hitting or beating. These findings supports that living in patriarchal settings, growing up in a violent household and
being socially and economically dependent on the intimate partner does not only result in justifying the beating, but also raises the
risk of exposure to domestic violence. (Yount and Li, 2009).
Violence against women is considered the most widespread form of human rights violation worldwide. This problem imposes a
significant economic burden on society, in the form of health care and legal costs, as well in the form of a decline in productivity. It
can also have harmful consequences for children who witness it in terms of their emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development,
explained as an intergenerational cycle of violence by the learned behavior theory (Bandura, 1977).

United States Foreign Aid and Women’s Intimate Lives: History and Economics of the Global Gag Rule

Yana Rodgers
Rutgers University


In recent decades, the long arm of U.S. politics has reached the intimate lives of women all over
the world. Since 1984, healthcare organizations in developing countries have faced several
major cuts in U.S. foreign aid if they perform or promote abortions as a method of family
planning. The policy - commonly known as the global gag rule _ is a hallmark of Republican
administrations. The reinstatement and expansion of the global gag rule by Donald Trump in
January 2017 caused a firestorm of debate. How plausible are the various claims and
This question is surprisingly difficult to answer because there is little statistical evidence on the
global gag rule. This book helps to fill the gap by conducting a systematic analysis of how the
global gag rule affects women’s reproductive health across developing regions. The analysis
yields three important messages: (1) in the majority of countries that receive U.S. family
planning assistance, the global gag rule has failed to achieve its objective of reducing abortions;
(2) there is no definitive relationship between restrictive national abortion laws and abortion
rates; and (3) the 2017 expansion of the global gag rule will have adverse effects on a
dashboard of health indicators for women, men, and children. These powerful messages should
be heard by policy makers over the voices calling for an ideologically-based policy that has
counterproductive results.

Understanding Intrahousehold Decision-Making through Vignettes

Cheryl Doss
University of Oxford
Melissa Hidrobo
International Food Policy Research
Tanguy Bernard
International Food Policy Research
Jessica Hoel
Colorado College


Households are sites of both cooperation and contestation. With increasing data available at the
intra-household level, analyses of household dynamics and the measurement of bargaining
power within the household abound. One widely used measure of women’s bargaining power is
the extent to which they are involved in household decision-making. This approach implicitly
assumes decision-making is as evidence of bargaining power. Yet, this assumption may be
problematic. First, it conflates the process of making the decision with influence on the outcome.
Second, the premise may simply be wrong; in some circumstances, individuals with more
bargaining power may prefer to leave the decision-making process to others. This paper uses an
innovative methodology to look beyond the identity of the decision maker to explore the
reasons behind patterns. Using a set of vignettes which present five couples, we ask
respondents in rural Senegal which couple they most closely resemble for both a consumption
and a production decision. We then consider how the decision-making processes correlate with
outcomes. We find correlations between the decision-making process and both the output of
milk in dairying households and child nutritional outcomes. In addition, we analyze whether the
respondent feels that the decision taken was the best for him/herself and for the household.
JEL Classifications
  • J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
  • F6 - Economic Impacts of Globalization