Women’s autonomy and old age pension transfer in South Africa

Type Journal Article - Gender, Technology and Development
Title Women’s autonomy and old age pension transfer in South Africa
Volume 0
Issue 0
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2023
Page numbers 1-23
URL https://doi.org/10.1080/09718524.2023.2204631
Much of the existing literature contends that income is a key determinant of women’s autonomy. Yet the causal connection between income and women’s autonomy is difficult to pin down, given the obvious endogeneity bias that may arise from reverse causality and omitting confounding variables correlated with income and women’s autonomy measures. The study assigned a treatment based on the age discontinuity in eligibility for Old Age Pension (OAP) income transfer to investigate the causal effect of income on women’s autonomy. Using a regression discontinuity design (RDD) and a quantile treatment effect, the study found that women’s autonomy responds to changes in income. Moreover, the results from these alternative specifications confirm that the OAP income transfer effect is heterogeneous across the index of women’s autonomy distribution. Specifically, the quantile treatment effect evaluation shows that income transfer has no effect among women with a high degree of autonomy and a low degree of autonomy. However, it bolsters the autonomy that ranges between these extremes.

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