Women’s Wages in Rural India’s Informal Sector: Does Access to Health Care Matter?

Veena S. Kulkarni, Arkansas State University
Hari K. Nagarajan, National Council of Applied Economic Research

There is convincing and ample evidence in the social science literature on the interrelationships between health/nutrition and wages and on the persistence of gender discrimination. There are, however no updated studies investigating health care access as a predictor of wages in India. India presents a unique case owing to its recent high economic growth rates co-existing with a large sized rural unregulated informal sector workforce. Also, India is one of the select developing countries that has implemented developmental programs and decentralized system of governance at the village level. Improved health care access is central to decentralization. This paper using the 2006 Rural and Demographic Survey data analyses the relationship between health care access and labor market productivity in India’s rural informal labor market. It estimates the role of health care access in predicting wages and therefore helps shed light on the efficacy of decentralization in improving the health care delivery system.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 126: Gender and the Division of Labor in Developing Countries