Anushka Chawla

Internal seminars
phd seminar

Anushka Chawla

The role of family members in the demand for maternal health services: A field experiment in India
Joint with
Pooja Suri
Tuesday, February 9 2021| 11:00am to 11:45am

Anushka Chawla: anushka.chawla[at]
Kenza Elass: kenza.elass[at]
Carolina Ulloa Suarez: carolina.ulloa-suarez[at]


A growing body of research focuses on family members, neighbours, peers, and the larger community as important sources of health information for young women. However, in traditional societies like those in rural India, women have limited agency over their own health and decision making due to restrictive social norms often imposed by family members such as the mother-in-law. In addition, lack of decision-making power in the household leads to high costs of bargaining for women. We propose a field experiment in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to explore the role of intergenerational bargaining and communication within the household in order to improve the access of young married women in rural India to family planning and maternal health services. Our preliminary findings suggest that young women are unsure about good reproductive health practices and rely heavily on their mothers or mothers-in-law, who in turn rely on traditional knowledge. With this in mind, we propose to randomize whether health information is given to daughters-in-law, mothers-in-law, or both. Further to understand the role of the community and peers in upholding traditional practices, we propose to cross-randomize whether the treatment of giving information to households is made common knowledge or not.

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