Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MSIDEC)


College of Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Alessandra Cassar


Kinship structure is a fundamental aspect of anthropology, however, there is still a gap in literature on its impact on economic research, particularly regarding female autonomy and health. This study aims to address this gap by examining the influence of matrilineal ethnic affiliation on attitudes towards female autonomy and health within Ivorian households. Using data from the 2011 IPUMS Demographic and Health Survey for the Ivory Coast, using female responses, this study investigates the complex dynamics shaping attitudes towards female autonomy and access to health care. Analysis on these aspects is done using ordinary least squares (OLS) and logistic estimations. Suggesting that within Ivorian households, female decision-making, and access to healthcare show no significant association with matrilineal or patrilineal ethnic affiliation. While attitudes towards discontinuing female genital mutilation and the ability to justify refusing sex show a positive and significant association with respondents from matrilineal ethnic groups, and to some extent, patrilineal groups. These findings highlight the necessity of culturally sensitive policies to promote female empowerment and autonomy within diverse kinship structures. It is important to note that these conclusions are drawn from specific kinship groups within the Ivory Coast, indicating that there is a need for further research for broader generalizations regarding the effects of kinship structure on female empowerment outcomes.