The Power to Protect: Household Bargaining and Female Condom Use

This research project was conducted in partnership with Pathfinder and was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) WOTRO Science for Global Development programme (grant no. W 07.40.203) and the Universal Access to Female Condoms (UAFC) Joint Programme (grant no. A-02974-02-01/506671).

Research question

We use a field experiment in Mozambique to test whether women with low household bargaining power are able to adopt female condoms, even if their partners are unwilling to use male condoms.

Research summary

Women may have a higher willingness than men to adopt technologies that increase household welfare. If adoption of a technology must be agreed upon by both partners, then women with low bargaining power may struggle to convince their partner to adopt. Introducing a version of the technology which is more acceptable to men, even if it is slightly less effective, may therefore improve adoption and welfare when women have low bargaining power.

Male condoms are a key example of a technology with chronic under-adoption. Female condoms may offer lower disutility to men than male condoms, although at the cost of marginally lower efficacy. We conduct an experiment in an area of Mozambique with high HIV prevalence, to test whether women adopt female condoms when given basic information and access. We find strong take-up among women with low household bargaining power. The findings have implications for policies to combat HIV/AIDS and other STIs, and more broadly for promoting technologies to improve household welfare.

Collaborating Researchers

Rachel Cassidy, IFS

Marije Groot Bruinderink

Wendy Janssens, Vrije Universiteit

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The latest paper version is available here