January 29, 2020
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In developing countries, there are communities were men and women don't have always the same decision-making powers when it comes to public issues. But what if women receive the same opportunities as men?

That is what Ana García-Hernádez, a Ph.D. candidate at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, is trying to answer in her job market paper, which she presented at the Navarra Center for International Development (NCID) on Thursday, January 23. With a lab-in-the-field experiment in a rural community in Uganda, she explores what she calls the "agency mechanism," which is "the fact that individuals just by being included in these decisions change their behavior."

"Since women and men have different preferences, when you include women in decision-making, different policies are passed," says García-Hernández, who looks at how much individuals are willing to contribute to the public account while deciding what to do with those funds. What she finds is that "prosocial preferences change when individuals are exposed to voting power or not": "overall decision voting power does not make a difference", but when attending differences by gender, "men do not change their behavior throughout the game but women do change their behavior. They are sensitive to changes in voting power." 

For García-Hernández, this has implications on how we think about including marginalized people in decision-making and sustaining it.