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Intra-household Gender Disparities in Childrens Medical Care before Death in India

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  • Asfaw, Abay
  • Klasen, Stephan
  • Lamanna, Francesca

Abstract

The excess female mortality in India and other South Asian countries is no longer contentious. Less known are the reasons for such excess female mortality in the country. In this study, we argue that intra-household gender-discrimination in receipt of medical attention can be one of the most important factors for the unbalanced sex ratio in the country. The 52nd Indian National Sample Survey, which collected for the first time detailed verbal autopsies of deceased persons, is used in the analysis. Place of death, which indicates whether a person get medical help immediately before her/his death, is used as a health indicator variable. The multinomial logit results show that keeping all other factors constant, girls are 1.7 percent less likely to die in hospital than their brothers. The coefficients of different interaction variables also reveal that the probability of infant and very young girls with live female siblings to die in hospital is extremely low. The robustness of the results is also checked using different indicators. The results confirm that girls are highly discriminated in access to hospital treatment and in the number of times being hospitalized before their death compared to boys. Therefore, in addition to the current effort of the government to control sex-selective abortions, efforts should be made to reduce the current intra-household gender-disparities in getting medical care at least for life threatening illnesses. --

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008 with number 21.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec08:21

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Keywords: gender discrimination; access to health care; place of death; India;

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  1. Wadley, Susan S., 1993. "Family composition strategies in rural north India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 1367-1376, December.
  2. 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.
  3. Arjan Gjonca & Cecilia Tomassini & James W. Vaupel, 1999. "Male-female differences in mortality in the developed world," MPIDR Working Papers WP-1999-009, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  4. Wolfe, Barbara L & Behrman, Jere R, 1984. "Determinants of Women's Health Status and Health-Care Utilization in a Developing Country: A Latent Variable Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(4), pages 696-703, November.
  5. 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.
  6. Klasen, Stephan, 1994. ""Missing women" reconsidered," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1061-1071, July.
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