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Ashok Kotwal
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »
A symposium on Piketty: Introduction
Posted on: 15 Jun 2015
Thomas Piketty’s book on ´Capital in the Twenty First Century’ has made waves. The f ... read on »
Emerging challenges: Economic and social
Posted on: 06 Aug 2014
To mark the second anniversary of I4I in July 2014, we invited two eminent scholars – Abhi ... read on »

Topic: Gender

Assessing the impact of demonetisation through the gender lens
Mitali Nikore
Posted on: 04/01/2017 09:49:44

In this article, Mitali Nikore, Senior Consultant at PwC India, highlights how demonetisation is impacting women differentially, and offers policy suggestions on how the negative effects can be mitigated.
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Surrogacy bill: Implications and way forward
Souvik Dutta , Subhasree Sarkar
Posted on: 06/11/2016 09:06:25
Tags:  


Contributing to the ongoing debate on India’s surrogacy bill, Dutta and Sarkar discuss the potential implications of the bill on the country’s billion-dollar surrogacy industry. They contend that India could follow in the footsteps of Israel and adopt a more pragmatic and holistic approach to regulating commercial surrogacy, rather than banning it altogether.
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Can the female sarpanch deliver? Evidence from Maharashtra
Mithila Biniwale , Stephan Klasen , Jan Priebe , Dhanmanjiri Sathe
Posted on: 23/10/2016 11:22:50

One-third of all seats in village councils are reserved for women. The government has proposed an increase in quota to 50%, and in the period of reservation from five to 10 years. Based on a survey conducted in Maharashtra, this column finds that availability of basic public services for women is better in female-headed villages - when the female head has been in the job for 3-3.5 years.
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Whither female disadvantage? An analysis of private school enrolment in India
Pushkar Maitra , Sarmistha Pal , Anurag Sharma
Posted on: 07/10/2016 09:49:08
Topics:   Gender


Given the poor condition of government schools and the perceived efficiency of private schools, Indian parents are increasingly choosing to send their children to private schools. This column examines private school enrolment among 7-18 year olds during 2005-2012 and finds a systematic and pervasive female disadvantage.
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Banning commercial surrogacy in India
Ajit Karnik
Posted on: 05/10/2016 09:54:08
Tags:  


In an attempt to protect the welfare of surrogate mothers, the Indian government has proposed to introduce legislation that will ban commercial surrogacy in the country. In this article, Ajit Karnik, Professor of Economics, Middlesex University, Dubai, discusses the threats that are associated with the welfare of surrogate mothers and argues that a ban would compromise their interests further as it would inevitably lead to the emergence of an illegal market for such transactions.
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Why are older women missing in India? The age profile of bargaining power and poverty
Rossella Calvi
Posted on: 19/09/2016 13:53:03
Topics:   Gender


The ratio of women to men is particularly low in India relative to developed countries. It has recently been argued that close to half of these ‘missing’ women are of post-reproductive ages. What drives this phenomenon, however, remains unclear. This column finds that this can be explained, in large part, by gender inequality in intra-household allocation of resources and the consequent gender asymmetry in poverty.
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Surrogacy bill: Boon or ban(e)?
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 07/09/2016 23:58:30
Tags:  


The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 proposes a complete ban on commercial surrogacy and restrictions on altruistic surrogacy. In this article, Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics, London School of Economics, contends that the bill does not provide any compelling argument for the ban. Rather, by singling out those who are not even allowed the option of altruistic surrogacy, it reveals its biases.
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The missing men
Chinmay Tumbe
Posted on: 01/09/2016 09:39:17
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:   migration


Studies on skewed sex ratios in India typically focus on female deficits attributed to factors such as gender discrimination. This column finds that regions covering over 200 million people in India experience mass male out-migration with a marked impact on working-age group sex ratios. These regions are remittance economies with gendered labour markets that secure higher wages for men in the service economy but provide limited prospects for the upward mobility of women.
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Maternity entitlements for healthier babies
Diane Coffey , Payal Hathi
Posted on: 07/07/2016 12:42:28
Topics:   Gender , Health


The National Food Security Act, 2013 provides for a maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000 for every pregnant and lactating mother in India. In this article, Coffey and Hathi explain why maternity entitlements are a good investment, and discuss how they should be designed to have the biggest impact on the health and productivity of the next generation.
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Courting women’s votes: What does this mean for women?
Sarah Khan
Posted on: 01/07/2016 10:04:50

In the recent state assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, political parties targeted women voters with specific handouts and proposed policies such as alcohol bans. This column contends that while the increasing political attention to women is a positive trend, it needs to be explored whether the proposed policies are indeed effective solutions to the issues faced by women.
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Women and the Indian job market: Glass ceiling or sticky floor?
Ashwini Deshpande , Deepti Goel , Shantanu Khanna
Posted on: 10/06/2016 09:41:00
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


The gender wage gap among regular wage and salaried workers in India was 49% in 2009-10. This column finds the bulk of the gap is due to discrimination against women in the job market, rather than different wage earning potential of men and women. The gender wage gaps are higher among lower earning workers.
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The less the merrier? Family size and education in India
Adriana Kugler , Santosh Kumar
Posted on: 01/04/2016 09:24:59
Topics:   Education , Gender


In the face of financial constraints, children from larger families are expected to have relatively less education and poor health. This column explores the empirical relevance this ‘quantity-quality trade-off’ in India with regard to education. It finds that family size has a negative impact on the schooling of children, particularly for low caste, poor and rural households.
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Improving maternal and child health through conditional cash transfers
Sisir Debnath
Posted on: 21/03/2016 09:52:42
Topics:   Gender , Health


Cash transfers to the poor, conditional on use of particular public services, are a popular tool to increase healthcare utilisation. This column evaluates the impact of one such scheme – Janani Suraksha Yojana - and finds that it encouraged pregnant women to deliver babies at healthcare facilities. It also suggests that the marginal effect of cash incentives is larger when provided to healthcare workers rather than mothers.
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How has MNREGA impacted the lives of women and children in India?
Subha Mani
Posted on: 15/03/2016 11:07:04

In this article, Subha Mani, Professor of Economics at Fordham University, summarises evidence that shows that MNREGA has mostly positively impacted the lives of women and children in India.

Tweet using #MNREGA10yrs

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Maternal mortality and gender prejudice
Sonia Bhalotra , Damian C. Clarke , Joseph Flavian Gomes , Atheendar Venkataramani
Posted on: 22/02/2016 09:20:43
Topics:   Gender , Health


While maternal mortality has fallen sharply in the last decade, it remains unnecessarily high at about 800 deaths a day worldwide. Moreover, there is enormous variation in levels and rates of decline across countries, even after accounting for differences in income. This column discusses new evidence showing that gender prejudice explains a significant part of this variation.
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What explains the decline in female labour force participation in India?
Urmila Chatterjee , Rinku Murgai , Martin Rama
Posted on: 13/01/2016 09:22:01
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


It is often argued that female labour force participation is declining in India due to rising incomes that allow more women to stay at home, which is the preferred household choice in a predominantly patriarchal society. However, this column contends that the trend is mainly explained by a scarcity of suitable jobs opportunities outside of farming and close to place of residence.
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Bihar’s alcohol ban: Prudent policy or tail-chasing?
Sanjeev Kumar , Nishith Prakash
Posted on: 21/12/2015 10:10:17

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to implement prohibition in the state from 1 April 2016 is based on the rationale that alcohol consumption is the primary reason for violence against women. In this article, Kumar and Prakash argue that a blanket ban on alcohol won’t stem violence against women – but making alcohol costlier may help.
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Missing unmarried women
Siwan Anderson , Debraj Ray
Posted on: 19/10/2015 09:24:46
Topics:   Gender


The developing world has notoriously low sex ratios, a phenomenon that has been described as ‘missing women’. This is believed to be driven by parental preferences for sons, sex-selective abortion and different levels of care during infancy. This column shows that these higher rates of female mortality continue into adulthood. It argues that being unmarried, especially through widowhood, is a key factor behind this trend.
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Adult education, knowledge and confidence
Ashwini Deshpande , Christopher Ksoll , Annemie Maertens
Posted on: 21/09/2015 10:27:39
Topics:   Education , Gender


Illiteracy, in India and elsewhere, is largely a female phenomenon. This column analyses a literacy programme aimed at adult women in India and finds that it has impacts beyond increasing literacy and numeracy. The general knowledge of participants improved and they were less likely to be over-confident about what they know – attributes that may contribute to better educating their children and absorbing new information.
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Role model effects? Women’s political participation in India
Sonia Bhalotra , Irma Clots-Figueras , Lakshmi Iyer
Posted on: 14/09/2015 02:25:52

Women’s political candidacy in India is very low and appears to be an important barrier to their representation in government. Does a deficiency of female role models hold back women’s candidacy? Analysing data from state elections during 1980-2007 in India, this column reports no entry of new women candidates following a woman’s electoral victory, and a decline in entry in states with an entrenched gender bias.
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Inclusive finance for inclusive growth: A gender perspective
Vigneshwara Swamy
Posted on: 31/07/2015 09:51:29

While research has established that financial inclusion programmes lead to economic upliftment of poor families owing to the participation of women, the evidence on the impact of such programmes on women empowerment is mixed. Based on a household survey data in India, this column finds that female-headed households that participate in financial inclusion programmes gain more in terms of economic well-being, vis-à-vis male-headed households.
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Property rights, household conflict and suicide in India
Siwan Anderson , Garance Genicot
Posted on: 09/07/2015 20:35:55
Topics:   Gender , Land


Suicide has become the second leading cause of death among young Indians. This column finds that improved inheritance rights for women are associated with an increase in the incidence of suicide among both men and women in India, particularly men. Strengthened position of women alters negotiations within the household resulting in increased family conflict and intense stress for individuals.
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Women’s empowerment and child malnutrition in rural India
Samuel Annim , Raghav Gaiha , Katsushi Imai , Veena S. Kulkarni
Posted on: 19/06/2015 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Health


Research has found mother’s empowerment to have a positive impact on the nutrition status of their children. This column analyses this relationship for data from rural India for the period 1992-2006. Among other factors, it highlights the importance of mother’s education in relation to father’s education in determining children’s nutrition.
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Why do so few women in India work?
Piritta Sorsa
Posted on: 27/03/2015 00:00:00

Only about a third of working-age women in India have jobs. This column analyses the determinants of women’s participation in the labour market in India and finds that factors such as family income, cultural norms and gender wage gap play an important role. It suggests that raising female labour force participation could boost economic growth by up to 2 percentage points.
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Women’s economic empowerment and domestic violence
Aparna Mathur
Posted on: 13/03/2015 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Crime


The safety of women in India – both inside and outside homes – is a major concern. This column explores the link between women’s economic empowerment, in the form of stronger inheritance rights and working status, and the incidence of domestic violence. It suggests that empowering women through income and wealth reduces the likelihood of them becoming victims of domestic violence.
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Impact of the two-child limit for local politicians
S. Anukriti , Abhishek Chakravarty
Posted on: 02/03/2015 00:00:00

Some Indian states debar individuals with more than two children from contesting local elections. This column finds that while the law has significantly reduced fertility among the general population in those states, it has worsened the sex ratio at birth among upper-caste families. It suggests that Indians have strong local leadership aspirations, and that policies altering access to political power can effect social change.
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Enhancing women’s participation in water governance
Priyam Das
Posted on: 25/02/2015 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Urbanisation


Women’s participation has become a key theme in water and sanitation projects. However, projects that have made provisions for women’s participation have yielded mixed results in terms of the quality of their participation. This column analyses community-managed urban water supply projects in Madhya Pradesh to understand the gap between women’s motivation to participate and their ability to do so, and what can be done to close the gap.
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Should the less educated be barred from village council elections?
Rohini Pande
Posted on: 23/02/2015 00:00:00

In December 2014, the state government of Rajasthan issued an executive order barring citizens with less than eight years of formal education from running for village council chief elections in all but tribal areas. In this article, Rohini Pande, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, contends that this will discriminate against able leaders who have been denied schooling because of gender, poverty or caste.
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Women leaders and deceptive behaviour
Lata Gangadharan , Tarun Jain , Pushkar Maitra , Joseph Vecci
Posted on: 29/01/2015 00:00:00

Are women in leadership positions more dishonest than men? Based on an artefactual field experiment in rural Bihar, this column finds that women in leadership positions deceive more than men, especially in villages that have previously experienced a female village chief. It suggests that simply reserving seats in village councils for women may not necessarily lead to better outcomes for villagers or women.
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Keeping women safe
Rohini Pande
Posted on: 24/12/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender


Since the December 2012 rape incident in Delhi, numerous policies have been proposed to stop the “war on women”. In this article, Rohini Pande discusses economic research, including her own, on the social, legal and financial forces that cause individuals, families and the society to undervalue women and harm them. Such an understanding can help determine whether a policy may succeed, or create perverse incentives.
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How gender inclusive is MNREGA in practice?
Upasak Das
Posted on: 21/11/2014 00:00:00

MNREGA mandates that a third of all workers under the programme should be women. But how gender inclusive has the implementation of the Act been? This column uses nationally representative data to analyse participation of women in MNREGA. It finds that while the programme has performed well overall in terms of providing opportunities to women, there is significant variation across states and sub-populations.
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The youngest are hungriest
Seema Jayachandran , Rohini Pande
Posted on: 17/09/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Health , Gender


Babies born in India are more likely to be stunted than those in sub-Saharan Africa, even though the former are better off on average. This column examines how the India-Africa height gap varies by birth order within the family and finds that it begins with the second-born and becomes more pronounced with each subsequent baby. Favouritism toward firstborn sons in India explains this trend.
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Tell us what you really think: Measuring gender attitudes in Haryana
Diva Dhar , Tarun Jain , Seema Jayachandran
Posted on: 18/07/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender
Tags:   Haryana


Changing basic gender attitudes may be crucial for alleviating discrimination against women and improving gender outcomes. This column describes a unique measurement tool developed by social psychologists, which was adapted to measure gender attitudes of school children in the state of Haryana. It finds that both boys and girls in grades six and seven display strong same-gender preferences, with boys disproportionately associating females with negative attributes and vice versa.
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Financial inclusion of women: Myth or reality?
Deepti KC , Mudita Tiwari
Posted on: 04/07/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Finance , Gender


Research indicates that initiatives targeted at financial inclusion of women have had limited success. This column contends that limited formal ownership of material assets by women and a lack of understanding of their socio-economic and cultural constraints are key explanations. It recommends innovative measures to promote financial inclusion and entrepreneurship among women.
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Political clientelism in MNREGA: Evidence from West Bengal
Upasak Das
Posted on: 25/06/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender


The problem of political clientelism becomes imminent in decentralised systems where certain individuals or groups associated with the political party locally in power, get preferential access to scarce public resources. This column investigates the link between political affiliation and/ or activity with the likelihood of receiving benefits under MNREGA, in the state of West Bengal.
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Do women in power have an impact on corruption?
Chandan Jha , Sudipta Sarangi
Posted on: 21/05/2014 00:00:00
Tags:   bribes


The recently elected 16th Lok Sabha of India will have a record number of 61 women parliamentarians. This column assesses whether women in the labour force or positions of power can have an impact on corruption. Analysing data from over 125 countries, it finds that women can reduce corruption but only in policymaking positions. They can do so via policies and not because they are necessarily less corrupt.
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Losing one half of India’s demographic dividend
Jayan Jose Thomas
Posted on: 21/04/2014 00:00:00

The working-age population in India is set to increase by more than 200 million over the next two decades. This column contends that India may fail to reap the benefits of this demographic dividend because of the extremely low rates of female participation in the workforce. There is a need for growth in job opportunities in high productivity sectors such as industry and services, particularly for women.
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Do wives care more about household welfare than husbands?
Utteeyo Dasgupta , Subha Mani
Posted on: 24/02/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender
Tags:   consumption


Social science literature shows that women promote household welfare more than men. This column examines if consumption choices of husbands and wives change, depending on whether they have to work to earn the money that they are spending. It is found that wives’ preferences for joint household consumption remain largely independent of whether they work to earn the money, or receive it without working.
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Rape: The shame of a nation
Chandan Jha , Sudipta Sarangi
Posted on: 21/02/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Crime


The proliferating number of rape incidents in India is chilling. This column discusses the various perspectives on the causes of rape, and the economic, social and legal factors that play a role in the high incidence of this crime in the country. It suggests taking steps to increase the cost of rapes for the perpetrators.
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Why so few women in politics in India?
Mudit Kapoor , Shamika Ravi
Posted on: 02/01/2014 00:00:00

Women are severely under-represented in political positions across the world. This column analyses constituency-level election data from Indian states to explore why this is so. It finds that while women are more likely to contest elections in backward states where there are more male electors than female electors, they are less likely to win elections in such states.
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What explains the stagnation of female labour force participation in urban India?
Stephan Klasen , Janneke Pieters
Posted on: 27/09/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


Over the past two decades, urban India has experienced expansion in women’s education, fertility decline and growth in white-collared jobs. Then why is it that female labour force participation has stagnated at around 18% since the 1980s? This column seeks to answer this question by exploring demand and supply side factors that influence female labour force participation.
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Entrepreneurship or survival? Caste and gender of small business in India
Ashwini Deshpande , Smriti Sharma
Posted on: 23/09/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Caste , Gender


Can entrepreneurship be a vehicle for social mobility in India? This column analyses data from micro, small and medium enterprises, and finds clear and persistent caste and gender disparities in virtually all enterprise characteristics in the sector. It makes a case for concerted policy action to correct historical caste-based inequalities.
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Combating gender imbalance through legislation
Anil Deolalikar , Arindam Nandi
Posted on: 16/08/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender


The rapid decline in the sex ratio in India over the past few decades is an artefact of the historically strong preference for sons over daughters. To address the problem, the Indian government passed an Act in 1994 that prohibited sex selection. While the general perception is that the Act was not effective, this column finds that it may have resulted in at least an additional 106,000 surviving girls aged 0-6 years in rural India.
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The power of women’s political voice
Lakshmi Iyer , Anandi Mani
Posted on: 17/06/2013 00:00:00

With more women in power, can India’s women expect to see a fall in violent crime committed against them? This column looks at the effect of a law to mandate minimum numbers for women in public office – its findings are both surprising and encouraging.
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Distance and institutional deliveries in rural India
Emily Dansereau , Santosh Kumar , Christopher Murray
Posted on: 19/04/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Health


India has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the world. A major cause is that a significant proportion of women continue to deliver babies at home without the presence of a skilled attendant. This column says that distance to health facilities is a key barrier to seeking delivery care at a facility.
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Does mother’s status affect the child’s stature?
Diane Coffey
Posted on: 22/02/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Health


Both women’s status and children’s health in South Asia are abysmal. Can a well-defined link be established from women’s status to child health? This column presents results of a study that uses variation in the status of women in joint rural households to show that children born to lower status daughters-in-law are shorter than those born to higher status daughters-in-law, despite there being no apparent difference in pre-marriage characteristics of parents.
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Violence against married women in India: Can the data tell us anything?
Sreeparna Ghosh
Posted on: 11/02/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Crime


Violence against women in India has recently been brought to the world’s attention. But for too long the problem has been under reported. This column looks at what the data can tell us.
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Looking for icons to transform social norms
Debraj Ray
Posted on: 28/01/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Crime


What can be done to reduce the incidence of rape? This article proposes that messages from role models such as cricketers and film stars can change outlooks. It outlines a strategy for measuring the effects of the proposed policy.
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Like parent, like child: Health transmission in developing countries
Sonia Bhalotra
Posted on: 28/01/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Health


To what extent is children’s health determined by their mothers’ health? This column analyses three decades’ worth of data on over two million children across 38 developing countries to explore how health is transmitted across generations – and how public policy can respond.
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Does political reservation for women improve programme delivery?
Farzana Afridi
Posted on: 17/01/2013 00:00:00

This column outlines results of a study that assesses the impact of women leaders on corruption and other aspects of the quality of delivery of MNREGA. It argues that administrative experience, training and institutional support are essential for making women’s political participation and affirmative action policies more effective.
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India’s missing women by age and state
Siwan Anderson , Debraj Ray
Posted on: 11/01/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Crime


This column presents results of a study that breaks down “missing women” by age across the Indian states. It illustrates that Indian women face the risk of excess mortality at every stage of their lives, and attempts to explain excess female deaths in India after birth.
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Where have all the young girls gone? The rise in female foeticide in India
Sonia Bhalotra
Posted on: 07/11/2012 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Health


Gender inequality remains a huge issue in India and policies aimed at changing this are welcome. But this column finds that an unintended consequence of the introduction and spread of ultrasound scans in India is the abortion of female foetuses on an unprecedented scale.
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How to keep more girls in school? Lessons from Bangladesh
Mushfiq Mobarak
Posted on: 24/09/2012 00:00:00
Topics:   Education , Gender


For years developing countries have been trying to increase parents’ incentives to send their children, particularly girls, to school and keep them there. This column looks at the success of Bangladesh, where the number of girls in school now exceeds the number of boys. It argues that money talks – but it’s the money that educated children will earn once they leave school that talks loudest.
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What explains gender disparities in economic participation in India?
Ejaz Ghani , William Kerr , Stephen D O'Connell
Posted on: 21/08/2012 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


The UN Global Gender Gap data shows that women’s economic participation and opportunity is worse in India than in 95% of all other countries studied. This column attempts to uncover what drives the gender balances of new enterprise in India and suggests measures for promoting women’s entrepreneurship and economic participation.
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