Untangling gender differentiated food security gaps in Bhutan: An application of exogenous switching treatment regression uri icon

abstract

  • Using nationally representative data from Bhutan, and applying an exogenous switching treatment regression model, this study assessed the food security status between male-headed households (MHHs) and female-headed households (FHHs). The study demonstrates that there is no significant difference between MHHs and FHHs in terms of food security, but when MHHs are compared with de jure FHHs, the food security is significantly lower among the de jure FHHs. The food security gap between MHHs and de jure FHHs is due to the differences in both observable and unobservable characteristics of the households. The food security gap between de facto and de jure FHHs can be explained by the influence of connections and wider access to off-farm income. Most of the previous studies consider all FHHs as a homogenous entity and ignore the concept of de jure FHHs (i.e., a household run by single, widowed, or divorced woman) and de facto FHHs (i.e., a household where there is a husband, but he is not physically present because of his work off-farm). As the present research takes this into account, the econometric findings from our study, thus have important implications in formulating special food security policies targeting the most vulnerable FHHs.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019