Abstract

This article maps spatial and temporal variation in husbands' dominance in decision-making about their wives' health using pooled Demographic and Health Surveys from 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa in an earlier (i.e., 2001–2005) and later (i.e., 2010–2014) period. First, we use adaptive bandwidth kernel density estimation to show how aggregate country-level estimates of husbands' decision-making dominance mask enormous spatial heterogeneity within countries. Our maps also reveal a geographic clustering of cells with similar levels of husband's decision-making dominance both within and between countries. Next, we use panel fixed-effects spatial regression methods to show that decreases in husbands' decision-making dominance in neighboring cells are associated with decreases in husbands' decision-making dominance in the reference cell. These findings support a diffusion explanation for declines in husbands' decision-making dominance over time. Our analyses also indicate that schooling and urbanization may be important channels through which diffusion occurs, which we speculate is because these are places where people are exposed to new ideas and gender norms.

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Supplementary data