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Does women's relative income predict contraceptive use in Ghana? An assessment using bargaining theory

Ayaga A. Bawah, Navrongo Health Research Centre
James F. Phillips, Population Council
George Wak, Navrongo Health Research Centre

This paper utilizes bargaining theory to interpret contraceptive decision-making in Ghana, where use remains low despite widespread awareness of various modern methods of contraception and over 30 years of family planning policies. Although the 1998 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey showed that contraceptive use rates had increased slightly from 1993, husbands not only desired more children than their wives, but were also less likely to want to use contraceptives. While women often wanted to regulate childbearing, many were unable to do so owing to opposition from husbands. We posit that women with higher relative incomes are more empowered to implement their preferences than women who command a lower share of familial resources, and consequently, an impaired bargaining "threat point." Analysis is based on a logistic regression model of contraceptive use in which relative spousal income is a covariate, and levels of income, sociodemographic indicators, and cultural characteristics are statistical controls.

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Presented in Session 33: Negotiation, communication and decision-making within couples in developing countries