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Impact of Gendered Participation in market-linked value-chains on Economic Outcomes: Evidence from India


We combine the results of a laboratory experiment and survey of agricultural households to estimate the welfare impacts of a market-based intervention with links to value-chain. We investigate whether increased participation by women in such value-chains improves their relative bargaining power and therefore their ability to contribute to household welfare. We utilize the National Dairy Plan-I as an example to estimate pathways through which such interventions may affect household decision-making. We find that the program design significantly increased women’s relative bargaining power within the household, which acts as an important channel for enhancing women’s ability to contribute to household welfare through decision-making processes related to food, nutrition, branded food items, and child education. The instrumental variable estimates show that if value-chains are gender-neutral then direct program effects are significant but small. Participation in National Dairy Plan-I, on the other hand, improved women’s relative bargaining power, allowing them to make substantial contribution to welfare. We show that when women’s bargaining power mediates participation in value-chains, the nutrition elasticity rises from 0.26 to 0.94. While the impact on analytical ability (i.e., mathematics Z-score) is negligible in the absence of female agency, performance improves by 0.35σ when gendered element(s) of the program are allowed to act as a channel.

Photo credit: World Bank

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