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Intra-household allocation of educational expenses: Gender discrimination and investing in the future

Tara Kaul

World Development, 2018, vol. 104, issue C, 336-343

Abstract: Gender discrimination within the household exists in many contexts. In societies where the norm is to not expect future support from daughters, parents may invest even less in the health and human capital of girls. In India, as in other patriarchal societies, the eldest son occupies a special position as the potential head of the extended family and is expected to assume responsibility for parents' welfare in their old age. In this paper, I explore intra-household differences in educational expenditure and enrollment for children by gender and birth order. Using child level data from the nationally representative India Human Development Survey-II (2011–12), I confirm the presence of a pro-male bias and an additional preference for the eldest son. In families with more children and greater competition for resources within the household, the pro-male bias falls and the bias in favor of the eldest son is greater. Parents in the higher income bracket, who are also less likely to be dependent on their children, discriminate less in favor of the eldest son. As expected, pro-male bias is highest in the north, central and eastern zones of the country. The north-eastern zone exhibits the lowest levels of intra household discrimination based on gender. Finally, I find evidence suggesting reverse discrimination, i.e. discrimination against sons, in the state of Meghalaya which follows a rare matrilineal system where the youngest daughter takes over as the head of the household.

Keywords: Education; Gender discrimination; India; Intra-household allocations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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