Reproductive Disability: The Link Between Infertility and Economic Well-Being for Women in Zambia

Aims: 

The specific aims of this project are to 1) Pilot a survey tool measuring reproductive disability with 400 women, 2) Demonstrate the connection between fecundity and consumption in observational data, 3) Perform power calculations for the full study and complete grant applications.

Abstract: 

It is widely acknowledged that disability results in a permanent downward shift in worker’s incomes, and thus consumption. In other words, workers are not fully insured against these negative shocks in labor market productivity. There is much less attention to another form of disability, that of secondary infertility, which may affect women economically if they are partly dependent on male partners for economic support. In this project, I will test whether infertility materially impacts women’s economic well-being similarly to how worker disability affects their earnings. The long-term plan for this project is to collect longitudinal data over a two-year period on 1,000 women in Zambia to measure how consumption, health, and economic wellbeing co-move with fecundity and spousal expectations of fecundity. The longitudinal data will allow an event study analysis with individual fixed effects to show that the onset of infertility, or “reproductive disability” is associated with a loss of consumption and economic wellbeing. In the initial pilot phase, I will begin enrolling the first 400 women in the survey, as well as analyze existing DHS data in Zambia to demonstrate the connection between infertility and loss of consumption.

Funded By: 
PARC
Award Dates: 
July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022