Essays in Development Economics

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2020

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Abstract

This dissertation considers the role gender plays in labor markets, household decision-making, and health in sub-Saharan Africa.

The first chapter considers the impact of fast Internet access on employment outcomes and household dynamics. I find the introduction of fast Internet to sub-Saharan Africa significantly increased employment for males, but had little impact on female employment. In addition, it significantly increased perceived acceptability, among both genders, of domestic violence against women.

The second chapter considers the differential impact, by gender, of an experimental labor market intervention in South Africa, which measured skills of workseekers and provided a mechanism for workseekers to communicate their results to potential employers. I find that men experienced a larger effect of the intervention on employment outcomes than did women. This difference is largely explained by pre-existing differences between genders, rather than differential responses to treatment.

The third chapter considers the factors that contribute to female genital cutting (FGC) in Mali and tests various hypotheses to explain the persistence of the tradition. I find that maternal preference is pivotal in the decision to cut daughters. I also find that the marriage market hypothesis and the identity hypothesis of FGC decision-making are alone insufficient to explain persistence.

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Sayers, Rachel (2020). Essays in Development Economics. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/21467.

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