The Role of Empowerment in Agricultural Production: Evidence from Rural Households in Niger
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We use new household and individual level WEAI data from the Tahoua region of Niger and estimate a variable coefficient Cobb-Douglas production function in which traditional inputs interact with two human capital variables - empowerment and formal education. Our estimation results reveal that human capital matters for productivity. So much so that it can be considered as technology-changing, significantly affecting a household's production technology by enhancing returns to equipment. In fact, differentiating households by their status as dual or primary with only an adult female or male reveals that the productivity elasticity of empowerment is large for dual households in which women are the least empowered. Enhancing the empowerment of women in this group of households, by increasing their leadership skills or tenure security, would yield important productivity gains.
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