The impact of information on female empowerment in low-income households in Kenya : a pilot study
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This thesis studies how targeting cash transfers to women affects their empowerment under private and common information structures in low-income households in Kenya. It is based on a research project which consists of a lab experiment followed by qualitative interviews. Women’s empowerment is measured through their willingness to pay for receiving a cash transfer. In the lab, they can either choose their husbands as the recipient of the transfer, or give up a portion of the amount in order to keep it themselves. In the treatment group, the husbands will be informed about the outcome of the experiment, while this information can be kept private in the control group. This experimental design enables us to elicit the effect different information structures might have on empowerment. The results from the lab experiment do not show any systematic differences in behavior under the two information structures. However, the qualitative interviews reveal that information might still have a certain effect on women’s empowerment. We also find evidence that women in low-income households in Kenya on average have a low level of empowerment. Women who initially are little empowered in the household seem to keep the cash transfer themselves. For these women, a cash transfer might affect their empowerment more when the husband is not informed about it. Women with initially high empowerment tend to give the cash transfer to their husbands, and different information structures do not appear to influence their empowerment noticeably. We therefore conclude that despite the lack of statistical significance, different information structures still seem to matter for women with relatively low empowerment.