Maternal Depression, Women's Empowerment, and Parental Investment: Evidence from a Large Randomized Control Trial
Victoria Baranov, University of Melbourne
We evaluate the long-term impact of treating maternal depression on women's financial empowerment and parenting decisions by exploiting experimental variation induced by a cluster-randomized control trial which provided psychotherapy to perinatally depressed mothers in rural Pakistan. The trial, the largest such in the world, was highly successful at reducing depression. We relocated mothers six years after the end of the intervention to evaluate its long run effects. We find that the intervention increased women's financial empowerment, increasing their control over household spending, and that it increased both time- and money-intensive parental investments, with increases in investments tending to favor girls. We also detect improvements in parenting style among mothers of girls.