Who has most say in cooking?

Author name: 
Raghav Gaiha
Raghbendra Jha
Vani S. Kulkarni

The present analysis seeks to build on household economics literature by focusing on who in fact has most say in cooking-the female spouse, the husband or a senior female member/ the mother-in-law-and how this role is shaped by a diversity of factors (e.g. caste, type of family, demographic characteristics, educational attainments, affluence, and location). A complex but not implausible pattern is revealed in which all these variables matter in varying degrees. To the extent that caste, type of family, number of male and female adults in paid employment, their educational attainments, and life- style differences matter, the familiar story of a more decisive role of women in paid employment in influencing household allocation of resources for food, health and education needs reexamination. More importantly, if the patterns of decision-making revealed by our analysis are associated with more varied nutritional and other health related outcomes, the policies designed to influence the latter are far from obvious-especially in light of the important roles of cultural values and evolving life style patterns.

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