ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Evidence from Karnataka

Gender Asset and Wealth Gaps

In the discussions concerning progress on gender equality, the status of women's asset ownership is a critical missing indicator. Assets are a product of accumulated income, reflecting long-term well-being, and thus are important for determining livelihood choices. While there is general agreement that few women own key assets, there is no systematic sex-disaggregated asset data to measure or monitor. Households are the unit of analysis in standard surveys, where the only feasible gender analysis is by sex of the household head. Using data from a state-representative survey conducted in 2010-11, this paper presents estimates of the gender asset and wealth gaps. The results show substantial gender disparities with respect to asset ownership and wealth.


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The results presented are based on the Karnataka Household Asset Survey, 2010-11 which was collected by researchers at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. This paper is from a larger research study, the Gender Asset Gap Project, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs under their MDG3 Fund for gender equality. The analysis was also partially supported by a grant from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India. The authors would like to thank the participants of a dissemination workshop (August 2011) at IIMB, where preliminary results were presented.


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