Intra-household decision-making: does religiosity matter?

In order to determine the bargaining power of family members, emphasis is often put on tangible resources, such as education, wealth, etc. However, as psychologists point out, intangible resources may also impact bargaining power.

In this paper, we focus on the participation of women in decisions concerning their children’s education and we investigate the relationship that may exist between the religiosity of mothers and their involvement in education decisions. By analyszing data we collected in Morocco in 2008, we find a positive and significant correlation between the intensity of religious practice of mothers and their participation in decisions concerning their daughters’ education. This result is essentially true for poorly or non-educated women, which suggests that religion acts as a substitute for education.

We argue that, in the Moroccan context, the existence of religious movements that are socially influential may drive our main results. This assertion is based on an analysis of the social action and discourse of these movements about the role of women in the private sphere and society and about the importance of education.

We also observe that the participation of women in decisions makes drop-out after primary school less likely for girls.

Agence Francaise de Developpement