Essays on intrahousehold relationships and decision-making

Sobrevilla, Alma (2019) Essays on intrahousehold relationships and decision-making. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis aims to study three specific research questions in child health, women’s empowerment and children’s education from an intrahousehold perspective, using panel data from the Mexican Family Life Survey.

The first essay (Chapter 2) aims to shed light into the problem of obesity in Mexico. The chapter studies the intergenerational transmission of obesity in children and adolescents offering quantitative measures of the parent-child link in terms of the Body Mass Index (BMI). Starting by following a simple Ordinary Least Squares approach, the analysis progresses to the use of fixed effect methodologies in order to isolate shared and non-shared genetic factors from the parent-child BMI relationship. Results suggest a strong link between the BMI of fathers and children, which is not only associated to genetic elements but also to time-variant factors that could be related to eating and exercising habits; this relationship is highly significant and stronger for children living in households with a high socioeconomic status. The mother-child link, on the other hand, seems to be slightly weaker and almost exclusively explained by time-invariant factors (such as genetics) however this relationship tends to be stronger for children whose mothers are in paid employment.

In the second essay (Chapter 3) this thesis explores the relationship between women’s employment and education on their level of participation on seven different aspects of intrahousehold decision-making. Unlike previous research papers on the matter, this work considers three possible results for women’s involvement in decision-making: i) exclusive decision-making, ii) shared decision-making with at least one other family member, or iii) non-participation. Results show that having one additional year of education will increase the likelihood of a woman sharing decision-making power with at least some other family member, but will reduce the probability of her being the exclusive decision-maker. On the other hand, being in paid employment tends to increase women’s likelihood of both, sharing power and becoming exclusive decision-makers. The analysis then goes on to explore the role of social norms on women’s behaviour and finds that having a higher level of education than the average in the community seems to decrease women’s level of intrahousehold decision-making power, supporting the notion that women seem to compensate their success outside the household with submissive attitudes at home.

Finally, the third essay (Chapter 4) studies the association between children’s cognitive ability and their time allocation on school, work and housework. The relationship between children’s endowment and the amount of resources parents allocate to them has been widely studied in the past; however, most of the previous research on this matter has only considered monetary resources as a measure of parental investments. Alternatively, this work considers time allocation as a more basic form of parental investment. Using fixed effects and instrumental variables methodologies, the chapter analyses the relationship between children’s IQ z-scores and a set of six variables indicating children’s participation or enrolment in work, housework and school, as well as the number of hours dedicated to each activity. Results suggest that cognitive ability does not seem to have a significant effect on children’s participation or time allocated to work; nevertheless, it does have a strong link with school enrolment, number of hours spent at school and participation in housework, some of these effects being significantly different for boys and girls.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Intrahousehold relationships, decision-making, intergenerational transmission, obesity, women, children, school enrolment, child labour, Mexico.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
Supervisor's Name: Angeles, Dr. Luis and Azemar, Dr. Celine
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Ms Alma Irene Sobrevilla Gonzalez
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-74307
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2019 12:09
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 21:24
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.74307

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