How has ‘agency’ – or the ability to define and act upon one’s goals – contributed to global long-term economic development during the last 150 years? This book asserts that autonomous decision making, and female agency in particular, increases the potential of a society to generate economic growth and improve its institutions.
Inspired by Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach and looking at this in comparison to contemporary economic theory, the collection of chapters tackles the issue of agency from the micro level of household and family formation and asks how this applies to gender at regional and state level. It brings to the fore new empirical data from across the globe to test the links between family systems, female agency, human capital formation, political institutions and economic development and puts these into broader historical context.
It will appeal to scholars researching social policy, gender studies, economic history, development studies and philosophy, as well anyone with interests in the long-term societal development of the world economy and issues of global inequality.