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Parental Attitude and Investment in Children’s Education and Health in Developing Countries

Lutfunnahar Begum, Philip Grossman () and Asadul Islam ()

No 30-14, Monash Economics Working Papers from Monash University, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper investigates whether parents’ inherent gender bias is associated with intrahousehold human capital investment among boys and girls. We conduct an artifactual field experiment to identify parents’ inherent gender bias and then attempt to examine how this attitude correlates with the actual decisions regarding schooling and health of their own children. We focus on five indicators for education, viz., years of schooling, grade for age, enrolment status, education expenditure, and test scores; and three indicators for health, viz., incidence of illness, and access to formal treatment and treatment cost, in case of illness. Although the game outcome suggests that on average, there is no systematic inherent bias among parents, yet inherently biased parents allocate resources in a discriminatory manner. The results suggest that boy-biased parents are more likely to have their boys enrolled in school and to spend more on their boys’ education; and also, less likely to enrol their girls in school and spend less on girls’ education. The boy-biased parents are also less likely to seek formal treatment and tend to spend less when a girl is sick.

Keywords: Household behavior; Gender; Children; Field experiment; Bangladesh (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 J16 J13 C93 D13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev, nep-exp and nep-hea
Date: 2014-09
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