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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bargaining Power Within Couples and Use of Prenatal and Delivery Care in Indonesia

  • Author(s): Beegle, Kathleen
  • Frankenberg, Elizabeth
  • Thomas, Duncan
  • et al.

This paper examines whether a woman's power relative to her husband's affects decisions about use of prenatal and delivery care in Indonesia. Measures of power that span economic and social domains are considered. Holding household resources constant, control over "economic" resources by a woman affects the couple’s decision-making. Relative to a woman with no assets that she perceives as being her own, a woman with some share of household assets influences reproductive health decisions. Evidence suggests these decisions also vary if a woman is better educated than her husband, comes from a higher social status background than her husband, or if her father is better educated than her father-in-law. We conclude that both economic and social dimensions of the distribution of power between spouses influence decision-making and that it is useful to conceptualize power as multi-dimensional in understanding the behavior of couples.

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