Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 453–481 | Cite as

Women’s economic capacity and children’s human capital accumulation

  • Jacobus de Hoop
  • Patrick Premand
  • Furio Rosati
  • Renos Vakis
Original Paper


Programs that increase the economic capacity of poor women can have cascading effects on children’s participation in school and work that are theoretically undetermined. We present a simple model to describe the possible channels through which these programs may affect children’s activities. Based on a cluster-randomized trial, we examine how a program providing capital and training to women in poor rural communities in Nicaragua affected children. Children in beneficiary households are more likely to attend school 1 year after the end of the intervention. An increase in women’s influence on household decisions appears to contribute to the program’s beneficial effect on school attendance.


Women’s economic capacity Female empowerment Child labor Human capital accumulation Field experiment Nicaragua 

JEL classification

D13 H43 I25 J22 J24 O15 O22 Q12 



The authors thank the anonymous referees of this journal for insightful suggestions for improvement of the paper. The authors are grateful to Chrysanthi Hatzimasoura for her contributions to data analysis and to the main study report. The authors would like to thank Verónica Aguilera, Soledad Cubas, Amer Hasan, Karen Macours, Marco Manacorda, Enoe Moncada, Ana María Muñoz Boudet, Amber Peterman, Teresa Suazo, and Egda Velez for contributions and advice at various points during the study design, its implementation, and analysis. The authors also thank participants in seminars at Bocconi University, UNICEF Office of Research—Innocenti, and Wageningen University. Finally, the authors would like to extend their gratitude to the team at Fundación Mujer y Desarrollo Económico Comunitario (FUMDEC) who implemented the intervention under the leadership of Rosa Adelina Barahona, Marlene Rodriguez, and Milton Castillo.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was funded by the United States Department of Labor (grant number ILO-GAP-22509-11-75-K), the World Bank Gender-Action Plan (no grant number), and a BNPP trust fund (no grant number).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacobus de Hoop
    • 1
  • Patrick Premand
    • 2
  • Furio Rosati
    • 3
  • Renos Vakis
    • 2
  1. 1.UNICEF Office of Research-InnocentiFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.The World BankWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.UCW Programme, International Labour Organization, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, IZARomeItaly

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