The intrinsic value of agency: the case of Indonesia

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Fernandez, Antonia ; Della Giusta, Marina ; Kambhampati, Uma (2015)

This paper analyses the relationship between agency and Indonesian women’s well-being. The existing debate on empowerment mostly focuses on agency's instrumental value, how agency benefits development and household/women's welfare. We depart from this debate by considering the intrinsic value of agency for women using the Indonesia Family Life Survey. We measure agency based on the decisions women make within their households. We find the effects of agency are not unambiguously positive. Agency has intrinsic value, seen in its strong relationship to well-being in certain spheres, which is moderated by the 'burden of responsibility' that seems to be felt by decision-makers.
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