Women Empowerment in Agriculture and Child Nutrition: Evidence from Ethiopia

This paper examines the impact of women empowerment in agriculture on intragender nutritional outcomes of children below five years old. We use a two-round panel data from a baseline (6977 households in 2013) and midline (6696 households in 2015) survey of Women Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI1 ) dataset collected by IFPRI, Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia, and Addis Ababa University in the Feed-the-Future and non-Feed-the-Future zones in Ethiopia. The primary objective is to examine whether an empowered woman can influence the household decision and consequently better nutritional outcome for the household members. The allocation decision obviously is influenced by unobserved individual-specific effects such as child gender preference and community variables. We apply the correlated random effects panel model with instrumental variables method to estimate the impact of Women Empowerment in Agriculture on children nutrition outcomes. To identify which empowerment domain, have a larger effect on intra-gender child nutritional outcomes, we separately estimate the five disempowerment scores on child nutrition outcomes. Our result confirms that women in the Feed the Future zone of intervention are more empowered than the ones in the non-Feed the Future intervention area. However, we find little evidence to suggest that the interaction between women empowerment in agriculture and gender dummy variables have a gender-biased effect on child nutrition outcomes. Similarly, child nutrition outcomes are improved by program interventions but with no bias to gender. The five domains of disempowerment score negatively correlate with child nutrition outcomes yet with no gender-biased effect.