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Intrahousehold Health Care Financing Strategy and the Gender Gap: Empirical Evidence from India

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Abstract

The “missing women” dilemma in India has sparked interest in investigating gender discrimination in the provision of health care in the country. No studies, however, have directly examined this discrimination in relation to household behavior in health care financing. We hypothesize that households who face tight budget constraints are more likely to spend their meager resources on hospitalization of boys rather than girls. We use the 60th Indian National Sample Survey and a multinomial logit model to test this hypothesis and to shed some light on this important but overlooked issue. The results reveal that while the gap in the probability of boys’ and girls’ hospitalization and usage of household income and savings is relatively small, the gender gap in the probability of hospitalization and usage of scarce resources is very high. Ceteris paribus, the probability of boys to be hospitalized by financing from relatively scarce sources such as borrowing, sale of assets, help from friends, etc., is much higher than that of girls. Moreover, the results indicate that the gender gap deepens as we move from the richest to poorest households.

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Paper provided by Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research in its series Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers with number 177.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 17 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:got:iaidps:177

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Keywords: gender discrimination; health care finance; hospitalization; India;

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  1. Ashish Garg & Jonathan Morduch, 1998. "Sibling rivalry and the gender gap: Evidence from child health outcomes in Ghana," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 471-493.
  2. Klasen, Stephan, 1994. ""Missing women" reconsidered," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1061-1071, July.
  3. Das Gupta, Monica & Jiang Zhenghua & Li Bohua & Xie Zhenming & Woojin Chung & Bae Hwa-Ok, 2002. "Why is son preference so persistent in East and South Asia? a cross-country study of China, India, and the Republic of Korea," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2942, The World Bank.
  4. Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra, 2000. "Does Child Mortality Reflect Gender Bias? Evidence from Pakistan," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 35(2), pages 113-131, July.
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  6. 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.
  7. Pokhrel, Subhash, 2007. "Determinants of parental reports of children's illnesses: Empirical evidence from Nepal," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(6), pages 1106-1117, September.
  8. John S. Akin & David K. Guilkey & Paul L. Hutchinson & Michael T. Mcintosh, 1998. "Price elasticities of demand for curative health care with control for sample selectivity on endogenous illness: an analysis for Sri Lanka," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(6), pages 509-531.
  9. Sauerborn, R. & Adams, A. & Hien, M., 1996. "Household strategies to cope with the economic costs of illness," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 291-301, August.
  10. G. Hazarika, 2000. "Gender Differences in Children's Nutrition and Access to Health Care in Pakistan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 73-92.
  11. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Selective gender differences in childhood nutrition and immunization in rural India: The role of siblings," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 395-418, August.
  12. Monica Das Gupta, 2005. "Explaining Asia's "Missing Women": A New Look at the Data," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(3), pages 529-535.
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