This paper explores the value-added of a new measure of domain-specific autonomy in the context of Bangladesh. The measure under scrutiny is a new direct measure of motivational autonomy proposed by Ryan and Deci (2000), and emanating from what is known as ‘self determination theory’ (SDT) in psychology. We provide a detailed examination of a measure of individuals’ autonomy, the Relative Autonomy Index, using data representative of Bangladeshi rural areas. The paper presents two distinct analyses. In the first part of the paper the authors perform several descriptive statistical analyses to investigate the conceptual validity of our measure, and to assess the internal consistency of its scale. The second part provides an analysis of autonomy of men and women in rural Bangladesh and investigates to what extent this concept is captured by other common proxies of empowerment. They report mixed results in terms of the conceptual validity of the RAI.
Alkire, S.; Vaz , A.; Quisumbing, A.; Sraboni, E. Measuring autonomy in Bangladesh. (2013) 22 pp.