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Parental education, gender preferences and child nutritional status: evidence from four developing countries

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  • Novella, Rafael

Abstract

This paper examines whether the distribution of bargaining power between parents affects permanent and transitory nutritional indicators in the early stages of boys’ and girls’ life. I use the Young Lives sample, which is a survey of young children living in poor households in Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh state), Peru and Vietnam. By adopting a methodology to disentangle gender differences produced by technology and preferences, I find evidence that the allocation of household resources varies with the gender of the child and the gender of the parents. After accounting for the potential endogeneity of the indicator of power distribution within the household, related to assortative mating in the marriage market, I find that maternal power has larger effects on girls’ health than on boys’ health in Peru and Vietnam. In contrast, in India, maternal bargaining power has a negative effect on girls’ health, whereas in Ethiopia no differential effect is found. Further analysis confirms that differences in parental behaviour drive the estimated effects and that these are robust to the inclusion of genetic information.

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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2013-06.

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Date of creation: 10 May 2013
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2013-06

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  1. Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes R Quisumbing, 2000. "Control and Ownership of Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households," Economics Series Working Papers, University of Oxford, Department of Economics WPS/2000-27, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  7. Iliana Reggio, 2010. "The influence of the mother's power on her child's labor in Mexico," Economics Working Papers we101305, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
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  9. Behrman, Jere R, 1988. "Intrahousehold Allocation of Nutrients in Rural India: Are Boys Favored? Do Parents Exhibit Inequality Aversion?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 32-54, March.
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  13. Alain Marcoux, 2002. "Sex Differentials in Undernutrition: A Look at Survey Evidence," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(2), pages 275-284.
  14. Srinivasan, S. & Bedi, A.S., 2009. "Ensuring daughter survival in Tamil Nadu, India," ISS Working Papers - General Series, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague 18716, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  15. Haughton, Dominique & Haughton, Jonathan, 1997. "Explaining Child Nutrition in Vietnam," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 541-56, April.
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  18. 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, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
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