Women’s Welfare and Livelihoods Outside of Marriage: Evidence from Rural Tanzania


July 3, 2017 - Author: Ayala Wineman

Ayala Wineman, 2017. Women’s Welfare and Livelihoods Outside of Marriage: Evidence from Rural Tanzania. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 62. East Lansing: Michigan State University.

This paper explores the welfare and livelihood strategies of women in rural Tanzania after they exit marriage. We draw from a three-wave individual-level longitudinal survey, using a correlated random effects approach within regression analysis to control for time-invariant individual effects. Attention is given to whether women exit marriage through widowhood or divorce, and whether they subsequently become household heads or join another household. Nearly 40% of widowed or divorced women are not the heads of their households, but instead reside with relatives. We find that women, and particularly widows, are more likely to be poor after marriage exit. Upon widowhood or divorce, women also work longer hours in off-farm employment, and those who become household heads are especially likely to experience a reduction in land access and a heightened reliance on non-farm income, including the receipt of transfers. This underscores the importance of both the non-farm economy and family networks for women′s livelihoods after marriage. Results illustrate that women′s experiences outside of marriage are diverse and cannot be broadly proxied with a household status of being female-headed.



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