Social Indicators Research

, Volume 125, Issue 3, pp 813–851 | Cite as

Women’s Political Empowerment and Investments in Primary Schooling in India

  • Nafisa Halim
  • Kathryn M. Yount
  • Solveig A. Cunningham
  • Rohini P. Pande


Using a national district-level dataset of India composed of information on investments in primary schooling [data from the District Information Survey for Education (DISE, 2007/8)] and information on demographic characteristics of elected officials [data from the Election Commission of India (ECI, 2000/04)], we examined the relationship between women’s representation in State Legislative Assembly (SLA) seats and district-level investments in primary schooling. We used OLS regressions adjusting for confounders and spatial autocorrelation, and estimated separate models for North and South India. Women’s representation in general SLA seats typically was negatively associated with investments in primary-school amenities and teachers; women’s representation in SLA seats reserved for under-represented minorities, i.e., scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, typically was positively associated with investments in primary schooling, especially in areas addressing the basic needs of poor children. Women legislators’ gender and caste identities may shape their decisions about redistributive educational policies.


Gender India Intersectionality Political representation Primary schooling Redistributive policies 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nafisa Halim
    • 1
  • Kathryn M. Yount
    • 2
    • 3
  • Solveig A. Cunningham
    • 2
    • 3
  • Rohini P. Pande
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Global Health and Development, Department of Global Health, School of Public HealthBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Takoma ParkUSA

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