Table of Contents

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Elgar original reference

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.

Chapter 23: Gender and Household Decision-making in Developing Countries: A Review of Evidence

Agnes R. Quisumbing

Subjects: development studies, development studies, family and gender policy, geography, human geography, research methods in geography, law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, social policy and sociology, family and gender policy


Agnes R. Quisumbing Many decisions that affect the well-being of individuals are made within families or households. Although the internally differentiated household was described, analysed, and widely accepted in mainstream anthropology from the mid-1970s, it took at least a decade for mainstream development economists to take notice. Challenges from economists to the traditional model of household behaviour and proposals of alternative models that bear closer resemblance to reality came from studies in the 1980s that suggested that men and women systematically spend income under their control in different ways. Since the 1990s, four factors have contributed to the tremendous growth of research on intrahousehold issues: (1) the development of new models of household decision-making, (2) an increased awareness that paying attention to intrahousehold allocation matters in the design and implementation of development policy, (3) the growing availability of data from developing and developed countries with which to test alternative household models, and (4) the use of qualitative methods, arising from increased collaboration with anthropologists and other social scientists, to understand non-economic dimensions of human behaviour. These studies have contributed to the rejection of the traditional paradigm of the unitary model of household behaviour in favour of the collective model. Unitary versus collective household models1 The unitary model characterises the household as a group of individuals who behave as if they agree on how best to combine time and purchased goods to maximise household welfare. Thus, either all members of the household share the same preferences or a (selfinterested or altruistic)...

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