Does female empowerment promote economic development?

An interesting post regarding how effective empowering a full half of your workforce can be in terms of economic development. Seeing as Nigeria’s current Finance Minister is a Western educated woman, it seems as though there may be more to this theory than meets the eye. If your business wants to start operations in any of these regions where female workers are underrepresented, it may be vital to your businesses’ success to tap into these workers as vital capital investments.

An Africanist Perspective

The conventional interpretation of the observed gender expenditure patterns re- lies on women and men having different preferences.4 And indeed, if all women highly valued children’s human capital whereas all men just wanted to consume, putting women in charge of allocating resources would probably be a good idea. However, we show that the facts can also be explained without assuming that women and men have different preferences. We develop a model in which women and men value private and public goods (such as children’s human capital) in the same way, but that nevertheless is consistent with the empirical observation that an increase in female resources leads to more spending on children.

Our theory does not lead to clear-cut implications for economic development. In particular, we find that empowering women is likely to accelerate growth in advanced economies that rely mostly on human capital, but may actually hurt growth in economies where…

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