Battle of the sexes: how sex ratios affect female bargaining power

Erwin Bulte, Qin Tu, John List

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The consequences of high sex ratios and the determinants of female bargaining power is studied. Female empowerment has important economic consequences and has become an important policy objective. A growing literature suggests that transferring resources to women enhances their bargaining position in the household. Specifically, women have stronger bargaining positions in the household when they are scarce on the marriage market. It is found that variation in sex ratios, over both time and space, is consistent with the assumption that sex ratios are determined by the interplay between national policies, local enforcement of the OCP, and the ethnic composition of local communities. It is believed that the resulting variation in sex ratios is exogenous to variables such as female empowerment, so that county-level sex ratios are proper explanatory variables in models explaining female bargaining power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-161
Number of pages19
JournalEconomic Development and Cultural Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Cite this