Female bargaining power in rural Haryana, as in much of northern India, is con- strained by widespread discrimination against women. In recent years, however, women successfully demand private sanitation facilities from potential husbands as a precondi- tion for marriage. I study this manifestation of bargaining power by modeling latrine adoption as an investment that males can make to improve their desirability on the mar- riage market, and I show that increasing proportions of females with strong sanitation preferences drive male investment in toilets. Moreover, I demonstrate women’s ability to secure latrines increases when they are relatively scarce in a marriage market. I test these predictions empirically by studying a sanitation program in Haryana, India, known col- loquially as “No Toilet, No Bride”. Using a triple difference empirical strategy based on households with and without marriageable boys, in Haryana and comparison states, be- fore and after program exposure, I provide evidence that male investment in sanitation increased by 15% due to the program. Further, the program effect is four times larger in marriage markets where women are scarce (26%) as compared to marriage markets where women are abundant (6%). These results suggest the relative scarcity of women in Haryana has, conditional on women surviving to marriageable age, improved the ability of the remaining women to secure valuable goods.That is from the paper "The Bargaining Power of Missing Women: Evidence from a Sanitation Campaign in India" by Yaniv Stopnitzky March (2011).
Apr 25, 2012
“No Toilet, No Bride”