Male/Female Bargaining Power and Child Growth

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Increased male bargaining power in households causes greater expenditure on food, an improvement in Weight-for-Age Z-scores in young children, and a deterioration in Height-for-Age Z-scores in very young children, as observed in the context of South Africa’s 2010 state pension expansion for males. In 2010 the male eligibility age for the South-African state pension was brought to par with female eligibility age (60, previously 65). I exploit this policy change in order to estimate the effect of the increased male bargaining power in the household, on growth of young children living in the same household, as well as food expenditure. The policy change took place shortly after the completion of the first wave of South Africa’s National Income Dynamics Survey and shortly before the start of the second wave, which lends itself well for a Difference-in-Differences approach on the right hand side. On the left hand side I use z-scores of growth anthropometrics of young children in the household (against WHO standards) as well as food expenditure.

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