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Abstract

Decisions within the household determine the allocation of resources. Theory suggests that the more autonomous women are within the household, the greater influence they will have in that allocation. This paper utilizes several measures of a woman's autonomy within the household. It is hypothesized that the greater the woman's autonomy, the more likely she will be to visit a doctor, rather than other traditional sources of healing/care, when ill. This hypothesis is tested using data drawn from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India. The results lend support to the importance of autonomy for a woman in increasing her likelihood of visiting a medical doctor when ill. Additionally, the results show that socio-economic differences go a long way in explaining differences in healthcare choices for the sick.