Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics

Delhi School of Economics


Does Co-Residence With Parents-In-Law Reduce Women’s Employment In India?


Rajshri Jayaraman (ESMT Berlin and University of Toronto)
(Thursday, 27 October 2022 at 3:15  PM IST)
Venue: Online

We examine the effect of co-residence with fathers- and mothers-in-law on women’s employment in India. Instrumental variable fixed effects estimates applied to two different panel household datasets indicate that co-residence with a father-in-law reduces married women’s employment by 11-13%, while co-residence with a mother-in-law has no effect on their employment. Difference-in-difference estimates corroborate this finding by showing that married women’s employment increases following the death of a co-residing father-in-law, but is unchanged upon the death of a co-residing mother-in-law. An investigation of potential mechanisms reveals no strong evidence of a negative income effect; some evidence of increased time spent on domestic responsibilities; and a consistent pattern of women having less agency, with major decision-making authority vested in co-residing parents-in-law instead. This is consistent with gender norms and norms of filial piety combining to constrain women’s employment.

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