The impact of a permanent income shock on the situation of women in the household: the case of a pension reform in Argentina

Available from: 
October 2013
Paper author(s): 
Dolores de la Mata (Universidad del Rosario)
Matilde Machado (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
Inés Berniell (CEMFI)
Gender Economics


Transfers to women may affect their bargaining power within the household and consequently their well-being. We analyze the effects of the 2004/2005 pension reform in Argentina that resulted in an unexpected and substantial increase in income, specially for women, on outcomes arguably related to women's bargaining power within the household. We analyze the effects of the reform in the probability of divorce, the distribution of household chores, and the probability of women to self-report as heads of household. Our results suggest that transfers to senior women may have substantial effects on their situation in the household. More specifically, we find that although the probability of divorce amongst seniors is very low, the reform had statistically significant effects on the probability of divorce implying an increase of around 16.4% on the divorce rate of 60-65 year old women. Moreover, the probability of self-reporting as head of household also increased by 2.7-4.6 percentage points representing an increase of 8.2% in the probability amongst women of 60-65 years of age. In the case of married women, the probability of wife self-reporting as head of household increased by 1.6 , which represents an increase of 24%. Results suggests that the distribution of household chores within the couples was also affected by the reform. More precisely, the participation of husbands in housework increased by 2.2 percentage points, and the probability that the wife is the single one in charge of the housework decreased by 5 percentage points.



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Research section: 
Lacea 2013 annual meeting
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