Women’s empowerment took the center stage in international development as one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Despite its subsequent prominence in development projects and academic research alike, the evidence on the impact of women’s empowerment is mixed and rigorous empirical studies are scarce. While some studies argue that women’s economic empowerment is crucial to improve their and their children’s well-being, other studies find a negative effect of women’s empowerment on their bargaining power and well-being in the household.
In our research project “Women’s Empowerment in Developing Countries: The Case of Côte d’Ivoire” the objective is to investigate the causal connection between women’s economic position and their bargaining power within the household. This project addresses an important theoretical and empirical puzzle through novel micro- level data collected in an original survey in rural communities. The design advances previous research by using cutting-edge picture- and audio-assisted self-interviewing techniques and innovative bargaining games to capture the extent to which women’s preferences are reflected in joint household decisions.