Els Lecoutere

Els Lecoutere


Lange Sint - Annastraat 7
2000 Antwerpen, BEL

My research focus

My research focus is gender, power relations and collective action. I study the implications of gender, power relations, norms and other-regarding preferences for people's decisions about collective action in developing contexts. I focus on collective action in common pool resource settings and at the intrahousehold level. Additionally, I assess the impact of interventions or policy that aim to alter power relations - linked to gender or other factors that assign more or less power to individuals - on behaviour and outcomes of collective action. I am particularly concerned with the equity of outcomes. I situate my research at the intersection of feminist economics, development economics, and development studies.

My background in (development) economics and demography, combined with a PhD in political sciences, allows me to approach these topics in a multidisciplinary way, applying qualitative and quantitative methods, including field experiments and lab-in-the-field experiments. Most of my work concentrates on East-Africa.

I have been switching between academic research and more policy and practice oriented research in Tanzania and Uganda. This has been a deliberate choice, which, on the one hand, allows to improve my theoretical and methodological basis and, on the other hand, ensures my research remains relevant and useful. In Tanzania (2001-2003), I first worked with an NGO in rural development and then joined REPOA, a renown Tanzanian research institute, doing research on poverty alleviation. Thereafter (2004-2011), I joined the Department of Conflict and Development Studies at Ghent University and engaged in doctoral research on the way irrigation water is governed and shared in rural Tanzania.

From 2011 until 2015, I lived and worked in Uganda where I conducted research on inclusive value chains, land rights for women, empowering effects of cooperative membership and intrahousehold decision-making in farming households in collaboration with local and international development organisations and research institutes.

In October 2015, I joined the Institute of Development Policy (IOB), a multidisciplinary institute involved in scientific research on development processes, actors and policies, academic teaching and service to the community. As a post-doctoral research fellow at the IOB, I study the impact of changed intrahousehold decision-making on the sustainability, efficiency and equitability of household farming in sub-Saharan Africa in collaboration with a development partner and an international research institute. I was awarded a 24-month Marie Skłodowska-Curie individual fellowship ( October 2016-September 2018) to extend this study.  I have also been involved in a collaborative project with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in which we randomly varied the gender composition of the messengers and recipients of ICT mediated extension videos in a three by three factorial design to stimulate inclusive sustainable intensification of maize production in Uganda.

Since 2019, I have joined the Development Economics Group (DEC) at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and I remain an associated post-doctoral research fellow at the IOB.

Research in action: A video documenting my research on intrahousehold decision-making in Tanzania






My research in Smurf






My personal website



Statute & functions

Bijzonder academisch personeel

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