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Stephen C. Smith

Former Research Fellow

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Stephen C. Smith is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University. He is also a Research Fellow of the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), and has served twice as Director of the Institute for International Economic Policy. Smith is author of Ending Global Poverty: A Guide to What Works, co-author with Michael Todaro of Economic Development, co-editor with Jennifer Brinkerhoff and Hildy Teegen of NGOs and the Millennium Development Goals, and author or coauthor of over 100 other publications. Smith has done on‑site research and program work in developing countries including Bangladesh, China, Ecuador, India, Peru, Senegal and Uganda. Smith is a member of the BRAC-USA Advisory Council, and has consulted for the World Bank, United Nations Development Program, International Labor Organization, and World Institute for Development Economics Research. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University.
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This paper provides a framework for analyzing constraints that apply specifically to women, which theory suggests may have negative impacts on child outcomes (as well as on women). We classify women’s constraints into four dimensions: (i) low influence on household decisions, (ii) restrictions on mobility, (iii) domestic physical and psychological abuse, and (iv) limited information access. Each of these constraints are in principle determined within households. We test the impact of women’s constraints on child outcomes using nationally representative household Demographic and Health Survey data from India, including 53,030 mothers and 113,708 children, collected in 2015-16. We examine outcomes including nutrition, health, education, water quality, and sanitation. In our primary specification, outcomes are measured as multidimensional deprivations incorporating indicators for each of these deficiencies, utilizing a version of UNICEF’s Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis index. We identify causal impacts using a Lewbel specification and present an array of additional econometric strategies and robustness checks. We find that children of women who are subjected to domestic abuse, have low influence in decision making, and limited freedom of mobility are consistently more likely to be deprived, measured both multidimensionally and with separate indicators.


Alberto Posso; Stephen C. Smith; Lucia Ferrone