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Human Capital Investment and the Gender Division of Labor in a Brawn-Based Economy

  • Mark M. Pitt
  • Mark R. Rosenzweig
  • Mohammad Nazmul Hassan

A model of human capital investment and activity choice is used to explain facts describing gender differentials in the levels and returns to human capital investments and occupational choice. These include the higher return to and level of schooling, the small effect of healthiness on wages, and the large effect of healthiness on schooling for females relative to males. The model incorporates gender differences in the level and responsiveness of brawn to nutrition in a Roy-economy setting in which activities reward skill and brawn differentially. Evidence from rural Bangladesh provides support for the model and the importance of the distribution of brawn.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 3531-60

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:7:p:3531-60
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.7.3531
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Michelle Rendall, 2010. "Brain versus brawn: the realization of women's comparative advantage," IEW - Working Papers 491, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1997. "Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil," Papers 97-05, RAND - Reprint Series.
  3. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C158-75, March.
  4. Khandker, Shahidur & Pitt, Mark & Fuwa, Nobuhiko, 2003. "Subsidy to Promote Girls' Secondary Education: The Female Stipend Program in Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 23688, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Gersovitz, Mark, 1983. "Savings and Nutrition at Low Incomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(5), pages 841-55, October.
  6. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal & Andrew Pickles, 2003. "Maximum likelihood estimation of generalized linear models with covariate measurement error," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(4), pages 386-411, December.
  7. Christopher Dougherty, 2005. "Why Are the Returns to Schooling Higher for Women than for Men?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 969-988.
  8. Seema Jayachandran & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2009. "Life Expectancy and Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Maternal Mortality Declines-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 349-397, February.
  9. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
  10. Trostel, Philip & Walker, Ian & Woolley, Paul, 2002. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for 28 countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, February.
  11. Franziska Ohnsorge & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Sorting It Out: International Trade with Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 868-892, October.
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