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Maternal Depression, Women’s Empowerment, and Parental Investment: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial

We evaluate the medium-term impacts of treating maternal depression on women’s financial empowerment and parenting decisions. We leverage experimental variation induced by a cluster-randomized control trial that provided psychotherapy to perinatally depressed mothers in rural Pakistan. It was one of the largest psychotherapy interventions in the world and highly successful at reducing depression. We locate mothers seven years after the end of the intervention to evaluate its longer run effects. We find that the intervention improved women’s financial empowerment, increasing their control over household spending. Additionally, the intervention increased both time- and monetary-intensive parental investments.

Authors: 
Victoria Baranov, University of Melbourne
Sonia Bhalotra, University of Essex
Pietro Biroli, University of Zurich
Joanna Maselko, University of North Carolina
Publication Date: 
April, 2018
HCEO Working Groups: 
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2018-021
File Description: 
First version, April 10, 2018