Working Paper

The Donor Footprint and Gender Gaps

Date Published

Jun 25, 2018


Maria Perrotta Berlin, Evelina Bonnier, Anders Olofsgård



Perrotta Berlin, Maria, Evelina Bonnier, Anders Olofsgård. 2018. The Donor Footprint and Gender Gaps. AidData Working Paper #53. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.


In this paper, we analyze the impact of foreign aid on female empowerment by matching geo-coded household surveys with the location of aid projects, thus measuring an average community effect of exposure to aid-financed projects. Given that women’s empowerment is a multidimensional concept, we examine the impact on several indicators related to women’s relative standing in the household. We find positive effects on women’s participation in the labor force, household decision-making and attitudes toward domestic violence, as well as on household consumption and expenditures on children. These effects are generally stronger for gender specific projects. At the same time, we find no or negative effects for other indicators, such as the division of household chores, and children’s education. We argue that the variation in outcomes can best be understood by what change would be required from other family members and how this change matches the norms of the community.

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