He says, she says: Exploring patterns of spousal agreement in Bangladesh
This discussion paper (PDF) by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) examines differences in spouses’ answers to questions regarding who participates in decisions about household activities, who owns assets, and who decides to purchase assets in Bangladesh. Participation in household decisions and control over assets are often used as indicators of bargaining power. Yet there is not necessarily spousal agreement and provide different answers to questions about these topics. Disagreement is substantial and systematic, with women more likely to report joint ownership or decision making and men more likely to report sole male ownership or decision making. Analysis of correlations between agreement and women’s well-being (including food security) finds that agreement on joint decision making/ownership is generally positively associated with beneficial outcomes for women compared with agreement on sole male decision making/ownership. In general, women benefit even more when their husband also acknowledges their role. This should encourage development programs to promote greater communication between couples regarding wives’ contributions. The results also show the importance of including women’s perspectives when collecting survey data. Given the strong positive association between a woman’s recognition of both her role in decision making and her control over assets and indicators of women’s bargaining power, the results support their usefulness in understanding intrahousehold decision-making dynamics.
Please find related research within the F&BKP on the influence of intra-household dynamics through impact pathways from agriculture to nutrition here.