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Rajshri Jayaraman
ESMT Berlin & University of Toronto
Bisma Khan
University of Toronto
Working Paper
JEL Codes:
J12, J16, J22, O12, Z13
● Does co-residence with parents-in-law reduce women's employment in India?
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We examine the effect of co-residence with fathers- and mothers-in-law on womens employment in India. Instrumental variable fixed effects estimates applied to two different panel household datasets indicate that co-residence with a father-in-law reduces married womens employment by 11-13%, while co-residence with a mother-in-law has no effect on their employment. Difference-in-difference estimates corroborate this finding by showing that married womens employment increases following the death of a co-residing father-in-law, but is unchanged upon the death of a co-residing mother-in-law. An investigation of potential mechanisms reveals no strong evidence of a negative income effect; some evidence of increased time spent on domestic responsibilities; and a consistent pattern of women having less agency, with major decision-making authority vested in co-residing parents-in-law instead. This is consistent with gender norms and norms of filial piety combining to constrain womens employment.

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