Beyond “Death do us part”: The Long-term implications of divorce perceptions on women’s well-being and child schooling in rural Ethiopia
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Beyond “Death do us part”: The Long-term implications of divorce perceptions on women’s well-being and child schooling in rural Ethiopia

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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)/ Ethiopia Strategy Support Program-II (ESSP-II), Seminar, June 8, 2011

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)/ Ethiopia Strategy Support Program-II (ESSP-II), Seminar, June 8, 2011

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  • 1. This type of analysis helps distinguish between the effect of the quantity of assets inherited and the mere effect of any amount inherited.
  • Gender differentials in perception of asset division upon divorce can have implications for bargaining power within the household which in turn can have long term adverse impact on life outcomes for women. Women who perceive that their husband would get all the assets in case of a divorce also tend to perceive less control over their lives.

Beyond “Death do us part”: The Long-term implications of divorce perceptions on women’s well-being and child schooling in rural Ethiopia Beyond “Death do us part”: The Long-term implications of divorce perceptions on women’s well-being and child schooling in rural Ethiopia Presentation Transcript

  • Beyond “Death do us part”: The Long-term implications of divorce perceptions on women’s well-being and child schooling in rural Ethiopia Neha Kumar Agnes R. Quisumbing Poverty Health and Nutrition Division (IFPRI) This paper is one of a series on asset inheritance and the intergenerational transmission of poverty commissioned and published by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre. Also available on the CPRC website as Working Paper No. 187
  • Women’s Wellbeing and Marital Property Regimes
    • Assets brought to marriage and the control over these asset over the course of the marriage as well as upon its dissolution have been viewed as determinants of bargaining power within a marriage (Thomas, Frankenberg and Contreras 2002; Quisumbing and Maluccio 2003; Fafchamps et al. 2009)
      • Greater control of assets greater bargaining power within household
    • Since marital property regime define legal ownership of assets brought to, acquired during and upon dissolution of a marriage have implication for women’s wellbeing (Deere and Doss 2006)
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  • Children’s Welfare and Marital Property Regimes
    • Resources controlled by women often result in increased investments in the next generation’s health, nutrition, and schooling (Quisumbing, 2003; Smith et al. 2003)
    • Smith and others (2003) study 36 nationally representative data sets from developing countries, find that improvements in women’s decision-making power within the family and society can significantly reduce child malnutrition rates.
    • In Bangladesh and South Africa, greater asset holdings among women at marriage lead to a larger spending on children’s education (Quisumbing and Maluccio 2003).
    • In Ethiopia, increased bargaining power of women is reflected in increased investments in children: land and livestock brought to marriage by the bride are found to have a positive and often significant effect on child nutrition and education; wives who expect more livestock upon divorce have children with better nutrition outcomes. (Fafchamps et al. (2009) )
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  • Country context Page
  • Gender issues in Ethiopia
    • Ethiopia: poor country, substantial ethnic and religious diversity
    • Diverse gender norms related to property ownership, inheritance, and the division of assets after divorce, mostly favor men (Fafchamps and Quisumbing 2005).
    • Gender disparities have important welfare consequences: poor women in the Southern Ethiopia, where customary laws on settlement at divorce are biased against women, fare worse when illness shocks occur. (Dercon and Krishnan 2000).
    • Relative nutrition of spouses is associated with correlates of bargaining power, such as cognitive ability, independent sources of income, and devolution of assets upon divorce (Fafchamps, Kebede, Quisumbing 2009); several dimensions of female empowerment benefit the nutrition and education level of children.
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  • Policy reform: An opportunity for increased gender equality?
    • Gender sensitive reforms may improve well-being outcomes for women. Example: In Canada, suicide rates of married women are lower in states with divorce laws that are more beneficial to women (Hoddinott and Adam).
    • In Ethiopia, the recent Land Registration process (~ 2003 onwards) led to joint certification of husbands and wives, giving stronger land rights to women
    • The revised Family Law, passed in 2000, gave equal rights to women and men in terms of marriage, inheritance and property.
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  • Objectives of this paper
    • We investigate the role of perceptions of asset devolution upon divorce and legal reform on the well-being of women and their families and schooling outcomes among children.
    • In particular, we examine the relation between women’s baseline perception of asset devolution upon divorce and
      • measures of household food security and poverty
      • measures that indicate satisfaction and control over one’s life
      • Schooling outcomes among children in the household and whether it affects girls differently
    • To explore whether the recent reforms in Ethiopia’s family code have had any implications:
      • we examine the relation between changes in perceptions regarding asset devolution on divorce and the above outcome measures
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  • Data
    • Ethiopian Rural Household Survey(ERHS ) coordinated by the Economics Department at Addis Ababa University in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University and the International Food Policy Research Institute
    • Panel data with 7 rounds covering 1300 households across 15 villages
    • Not nationally representative but covers the main agroecological, ethnic and religious groups.
    • Use data from rounds 1997, 2004 and 2009
    • Data on perceptions of asset devolution upon divorce in 1997 and 2009 rounds
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  • Method
    • Outcomes (measured in 2009)-
      • Food gap: number of food insecure months in the last 1 year
      • Self Reported Poverty
      • Inadequate expenditure on consumption, housing and health care
      • Measures of satisfaction with and control over one’s life
      • Deviation from cohort mean of number of years of schooling
    • Estimate correlation of perceptions of division of assets upon a divorce where neither the husband nor the wife were at fault with the above outcomes.
      • Where the perception variable is characterized as a dummy variable which equals 1 if the wife perceives everything would be given to the husband upon a no fault divorce.
    • Estimate whether move in perceptions towards an equal division of assets on divorce has any implications for the above outcomes.
    • Restrict analysis to male headed households that are monogamous.
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  • Econometric Specification Page P is dummy variable that equals one if the wife perceives everything would be given to the husband upon a no fault divorce X m and X f are vectors of husband’s and wife’s characteristics: age, age squared, schooling and assets brought to marriage X hh is vector of baseline household characteristics: age and gender composition in 1997, which land quartile the household belonged to in 2004 z is vector of PA dummy variables The econometric specification for the child level outcomes is similar to above but includes child’s characteristics as well
  • Descriptives Page
  • Characteristics of husbands and wives Page Husband Wife p-value Age 46.22 36.41 *** Years of schooling 2.45 1.58 *** Total land inherited, ha. 0.43 0.06 *** Total Value of Inherited Assets, in Ethiopian Birr 941.98 178.60 *** Total Value of livestock inherited, in Ethiopian Birr 207.30 76.35 *** Total Value of Assets at Marriage, in Ethiopian Birr 6524.58 1794.15 ***
  • Outcome measures as perceived by Husbands and Wives Page Outcome Husband Wife p-value Household Food Security and Poverty Food gap in months 2.63 Self reported as poor 0.20 0.18 Food consumption less than adequate in the last months 0.35 0.35 Housing less than adequate in the last months 0.34 0.29 ** Health care less than adequate in the last months 0.32 0.32 Satisfaction and Control over One’s Life My life is determined by my own actions 0.49 0.64 *** I have power to make decisions that change the course of my life 0.46 0.59 *** I am usually able to protect my personal interests 0.38 0.48 *** In most ways my life is close to my ideal 0.26 0.27 The conditions of my life are excellent 0.27 0.25
  • Schooling among children Page Years of schooling (children 10-15 years) Years of schooling 3.65 Years of schooling, boys 10-15 3.60 Years of schooling, girls 10-15 3.71 Deviation of child schooling from the cohort mean Deviation from cohort mean -0.04 Deviation of boys’ schooling from cohort mean -0.09 Deviation of girls’ schooling from cohort mean 0.02
  • Perceptions about Division of Assets upon Divorce, 1997 Changes in these Perceptions, 2009 Page Wife Custody of land given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.59 Custody of livestock owned by husband given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.53 Custody of livestock owned by wife given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.15 Custody of livestock acquired after marriage given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.29 Custody of house given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.62 CHANGES, 1997-2009 Perceptions moved to equal division of land upon divorce 0.46 Perceptions moved to equal division of livestock upon divorce 0.36
    • Regression Results
    Page
  • Page Food gap in months Self reported as poor Food consumption less than adequate in the last months Housing less than adequate in the last months Health care less than adequate in the last months Custody of land given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.150 0.054 0.056 0.197*** 0.136* (0.889) (0.066) (0.116) (0.056) (0.073) Custody of livestock owned by husband given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.305 -0.008 0.137 -0.057 0.145** (0.460) (0.037) (0.094) (0.053) (0.066) Custody of livestock owned by wife given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.490 -0.003 0.042 0.019 0.024 (0.697) (0.106) (0.139) (0.106) (0.186) Custody of livestock acquired after marriage given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.264 0.275* 0.065 0.391*** 0.159 (0.724) (0.154) (0.153) (0.101) (0.104) Custody of house given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.283 0.035 0.062 0.204*** 0.119* (0.864) (0.066) (0.107) (0.052) (0.067)
  • Page My life is determined by my own actions I have power to make decisions that change the course of my life I am usually able to protect my personal interests In most ways my life is close to my ideal The conditions of my life are excellent Custody of land given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.134** -0.033 -0.138** -0.081 0.001 (0.054) (0.056) (0.052) (0.049) (0.058) Custody of livestock owned by husband given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.055 -0.022 -0.198* -0.068 -0.173* (0.075) (0.061) (0.108) (0.071) (0.085) Custody of livestock owned by wife given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.026 -0.011 -0.044 -0.005 0.061 (0.119) (0.086) (0.062) (0.097) (0.071) Custody of livestock acquired after marriage given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.232*** -0.168 -0.088 -0.086 0.077 (0.061) (0.104) (0.092) (0.070) (0.063) Custody of house given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.140** -0.037 -0.120** -0.111** 0.036 (0.054) (0.052) (0.049) (0.043) (0.053)
  • Page PANEL A Food gap in months Self reported as poor Food consumption less than adequate in the last months Housing less than adequate in the last months Health care less than adequate in the last months Moved to equal division of land upon divorce -0.654 -0.026 -0.018 0.080* 0.032 (0.505) (0.035) (0.063) (0.046) (0.053) PANEL B My life is determined by my own actions I have power to make decisions that change the course of my life I am usually able to protect my personal interests In most ways my life is close to my ideal The conditions of my life are excellent Moved to equal division of land upon divorce -0.060 -0.020 -0.051 -0.005 -0.002 (0.048) (0.040) (0.044) (0.049) (0.046)
  • Page ? Deviation of Schooling from Cohort Mean Perception about division of land Perception about division of livestock Perception about division of house Change in perception of division of land, 1997-2009 Change in perception of division of livestock, 1997-2009 Custody of land given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.342 (0.298) Custody of livestock owned by husband given to husband in case of no fault divorce 0.108 (0.294) Custody of livestock owned by wife given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.015 (0.247) Custody of livestock acquired after marriage given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.740** (0.338) Custody of house given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.362 (0.222) Perceptions moved to equal division of land upon divorce -0.147 (0.267) Perceptions moved to equal division of livestock upon divorce -0.413** (0.188)
  • Page ? Deviation of Schooling from Cohort Mean (with household fixed effects) Perception about division of land Perception about division of livestock Perception about division of house Change in perception of divison of land, 1997-2009 Change in perception of division of livestock, 1997-2009 Female Child*Custody of land given to husband in case of no fault divorce -1.354*** (0.274) Female Child *Custody of livestock owned by husband given to husband in case of no fault divorce -1.120*** (0.422) Female Child *Custody of livestock owned by wife given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.006 (0.652) Female Child *Custody of livestock acquired after marriage given to husband in case of no fault divorce -0.652 (0.512) Female Child*Custody of house given to husband in case of no fault divorce -1.342*** (0.274) Female Child* Perceptions moved to equal division of land upon divorce -0.846*** (0.304) Female Child* Perceptions moved to equal division of livestock upon divorce -0.515 (0.328)
  • Impact of Perceptions of Asset Division upon Divorce
    • When women perceive that all assets (land/livestock/house) must be given to the husband in case of a divorce they
      • are more likely to report that their households have less than adequate expenditure on housing and health care and
      • are less likely to report that their life is determined by their own actions.
      • are less likely to protect their personal interests
    • Children in households where women perceive that all assets must be given to the husband fall behind their cohort in the number of years of completed schooling and this is especially true for girls in these households.
    • Regressions that measure the effect of change of perceptions towards equal division of assets upon divorce show that there is practically no effect (or perverse effects) on outcomes.
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  • Conclusions
    • Perceptions of division of assets upon divorce can have important long term implications.
    • The implementation of a gender sensitive reform led to changes in perceptions of asset division upon divorce, but these changes have no significant association with food security, poverty, or wellbeing among women or schooling outcomes among children.
    • This finding emphasizes the fact that, at least in rural Ethiopia, it is the initial conditions or perceptions that matter for long term wellbeing. Perhaps it takes time for changes in legislation to make their way to changes not only in perceptions about equal division of assets upon divorce but also to improved well-being, possibly because these changes need to be internalized.
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