Catherine Guirkinger

Full professor , University de Namur





On-going Projects
    • African Women financed by the European Research Council. Rates of domestic violence and the relative risk of premature death for women are higher in sub-Saharan Africa than in any other region. Yet we know remarkably little about the economic forces, incentives and constraints that drive discrimination against women in this region, making it hard to identify policy levers to address the problem. This project will help fill this gap. I will investigate gender discrimination from two complementary perspectives. First, through the lens of economic history, I will investigate the forces driving trends in women’s relative well-being since slavery. To quantify the evolution of well-being of sub-Saharan women relative to men, I will use three types of historical data: anthropometric indicators (relative height), vital statistics (to compute numbers of missing women), and outcomes of formal and informal family law disputes. I will then investigate how major economic developments and changes in family laws differentially affected women’s welfare across ethnic groups with different norms on women’s roles and rights. Second, using intra-household economic models, I will provide new insights into domestic violence and gender bias in access to crucial resources in present-day Africa. I will develop a new household model that incorporates gender identity and endogenous outside options to explore the relationship between women’s empowerment and the use of violence. Using the notion of strategic delegation, I will propose a new rationale for the separation of budgets often observed in African households and generate predictions of how improvements in women’s outside options affect welfare. Finally, with first hand data, I will investigate intra-household differences in nutrition and work effort in times of food shortage from the points of view of efficiency and equity. I will use activity trackers as an innovative means of collecting high quality data on work effort and thus overcome data limitations restricting the existing literature.
    • Muslim Women in Migration (with J.P. Platteau ) financed by the Fond National de la Recherche Scientifique.      Our research on  women of Turkish origins aims to shed light on the pattern of Turkish chain migration through arranged marriages and to understand the (lack of) emancipation of these women. Since an official moratorium was called on labor immigration in Belgium In 1973, the migration dynamic has shifted and marriage became the most important migration motive. Interestingly, second generation migrants of Turkish origin predominantly choose partners in their country of origin (who then migrate to Belgium). Furthermore, a paradoxical regression of women status in migrant communities has been documented. Women whether migrant or of second generation appear to enjoy less control over their life than their female relatives who stayed in the country of origin. We have collected our own data in Brussels on a random sample of first, second and third generation women and men of Turkish origin.