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Female Headship and Schooling Outcomes in Rural India

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  • Chudgar, Amita
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    Abstract

    Summary Using nationally representative data from rural India, this study contributes to the limited literature on the educational outcomes of children living in female-headed households. Those heads can be either widows or married women; unlike most prior studies, this one controls for such heterogeneity by separately analyzing data from the two types of households. Like earlier studies, it compares the absolute differences in children's schooling outcomes across household types. Unlike earlier studies, however, it also attempts to quantify the relative improvements in children's schooling outcomes within different households that correspond to marginal improvements in households' educational and economic status. Finally, using household fixed effects, it investigates the differences in the schooling outcomes of boys and girls across the different household types. The findings concur with those of recent studies in other South Asian countries. Controlling for family background, in absolute terms, children in widow-headed households are no worse off than are those in male-headed households, and children in households headed by married females may enjoy even better schooling outcomes. It is in widow-headed households that a marginal gain in the household's condition is reflected most positively in the children's schooling outcomes. Moreover, these households do not discriminate between boys and girls.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 550-560

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:4:p:550-560

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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    Keywords: Asia India female-headed households schooling outcomes;

    References

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    1. Buvinic, Mayra & Gupta, Geeta Rao, 1997. "Female-Headed Households and Female-Maintained Families: Are They Worth Targeting to Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 259-80, January.
    2. Johnson, F. Catherine & Rogers, Beatrice Lorge, 1993. "Children's nutritional status in female-headed households in the Dominican Republic," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 1293-1301, December.
    3. Jean Dr├Ęze & Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1999. "School Participation in Rural India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 18, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    4. Paul Schultz, T., 2002. "Why Governments Should Invest More to Educate Girls," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 207-225, February.
    5. Appleton, Simon, 1996. "Women-headed households and household welfare: An empirical deconstruction for Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(12), pages 1811-1827, December.
    6. Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Does Female Income Share Influence Household Expenditures? Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
    7. DeGraff, Deborah S & Bilsborrow, Richard E, 1993. "Female-Headed Households and Family Welfare in Rural Ecuador," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 317-36, November.
    8. Dreze, Jean & Srinivasan, P. V., 1997. "Widowhood and poverty in rural India: Some inferences from household survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 217-234, December.
    9. Andrew Weiss, 1995. "Human Capital vs. Signalling Explanations of Wages," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 133-154, Fall.
    10. Smith, Lisa C. & Byron, Elizabeth M., 2005. "Is greater decisionmaking power of women associated with reduced gender discrimination in South Asia?," FCND discussion papers 200, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Sonalde Desai & Soumya Alva, 1998. "Maternal education and child health: Is there a strong causal relationship?," Demography, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 71-81, February.
    12. Handa, Sudhanshu, 1996. "Expenditure behavior and children's welfare: An analysis of female headed households in Jamaica," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 165-187, June.
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