Standing Together: Peer Networks, Female Empowerment, and Child Welfare
We quantify the impact of peer network-based learning and influence on female empowerment and child food intake using primary data on networks in Uttarakhand. We use participation in the Mahila Samakhya program to identify increases in the empowerment of the participant herself and her social network. Using a conceptual framework that combines the Nash bargaining framework, the demographic diusion literature, and identity economics, we characterize three ways in which networks function: social learning, social influence, and identity utility. We then use 3SLS on network-weighted instruments to estimate the relative sizes of these mechanisms on empowerment and child food intake. Results show that female empowerment is significantly affected by social influence and identity through participation, while child food intake benets most from learning.
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