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The State of Female Autonomy in India: A Stochastic Dominance Approach
Authors: Kausik Chaudhuri, and Gaston Yalonetzky
Source: Journal of Development Studies, 54(8): 1338-1353; DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2017.1414186
Topic(s): Women's autonomy
Women's status
Country: Asia
Published: DEC 2017
Abstract: The promotion of female autonomy is both intrinsically and instrumentally desirable. We document differences in the distribution of female autonomy in India (using the National Family Health Survey 2005–2006) addressing two methodological challenges: the multidimensional nature of the concept and its frequent measurement with ordinal variables (which are not amenable to direct comparisons of social averages). We tackle these challenges with three methods based on stochastic dominance techniques suited for ordinal and dichotomous variables. Whenever these dominance conditions hold for a pairwise comparison, we can conclude that the multidimensional autonomy distribution in one state is more desirable than in another one across a broad range of criteria for the individual and social welfare evaluation of autonomy. Consistently across the three methods, we find that most of the states with better autonomy distributions (in pairwise comparisons) come from the north east and the south, whereas most of the states with worse autonomy distributions come from the north.