Research Seminar in Economics - Pietro Biroli, "Maternal Depression, Women's Empowerment, and Parental Investment: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial"

Institute of Economics

Date: 13 March 2018 / 17:15 - 18:15

Room 408, Main building 4th floor (access only via elevator)

We evaluate the long-term impact of treating maternal depression on women's financial empowerment by exploiting experimental variation induced by a cluster-randomized control trial which provided psychotherapy to perinatally depressed mothers in rural Pakistan. The trial, which is the largest psychotherapy trial in the world, was highly successful at reducing depression rates of mothers. We relocate mothers 6 years after the intervention concluded to evaluate the effects of the intervention on women's bargaining power in the household, employment, parental investments, fertility, as well as outcomes for children. We find that treating maternal depression increased women's empowerment, particularly control over spending, both in the short-run and in the long-run. Consistent with the reports of increased control over spending, we find persistent effects of the intervention on both time- and monetary-intensive parental investment. The long-run treatment effects were heterogeneous by the gender of child, with benefits concentrated among girls.