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Gender Bias in Education: the Role of Inter-household Externality, Dowry and other Social Institutions


  • Sajal Lahiri
  • Sharmistha Self


We analyze gender bias in school enrollment by developing a two-period model where women become part of extended families of their in-laws. Each family decides how many sons and daughters are sent to school and thus become skilled. Gender bias occurs due to failure of the families to internalize inter-household externalities. "Groom-specific" dowry worsens the situation. Under "bride-specific" dowry, bias exists if and only if the skill premium in the labor market is bigger than that in the marriage market. A specific discriminatory "food-for-education" policy is shown to reduce bias, but increase total enrollment. Copyright © 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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  • Sajal Lahiri & Sharmistha Self, 2007. "Gender Bias in Education: the Role of Inter-household Externality, Dowry and other Social Institutions," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 591-606, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:11:y:2007:i:4:p:591-606

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Maertens, Annemie, 2013. "Social Norms and Aspirations: Age of Marriage and Education in Rural India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-15.
    2. Branisa, Boris & Klasen, Stephan & Ziegler, Maria, 2013. "Gender Inequality in Social Institutions and Gendered Development Outcomes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 252-268.
    3. Jacob, Arun, 2016. "Gender Bias in Educational Attainment in India : The Role of Dowry Payments," MPRA Paper 76338, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Rubiana Chamarbagwala, 2011. "Sibling composition and selective gender-based survival bias," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 935-955, July.
    5. Boris Branisa & Stephan Klasen & Maria Ziegler, 2009. "Why we should all care about social institutions related to gender inequality," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 15, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    6. Alexander Stimpfle & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Does Central Europe Import the Missing Women Phenomenon?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    7. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano & da Silva, Luiz Pereira, 2014. "On gender and growth: The role of intergenerational health externalities and women's occupational constraints," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 132-147.
    8. Jafarey, Saqib & Maiti, Dibyendu, 2015. "Glass slippers and glass ceilings: An analysis of marital anticipation and female education," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 45-61.
    9. Rubiana Chamarbagwala & Martin Ranger, 2006. "India's Missing Women: Disentangling Cultural, Political and Economic Variables," Caepr Working Papers 2006-021, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    10. Self, Sharmistha & Grabowski, Richard, 2009. "Modernization, inter-caste marriage, and dowry: An analytical perspective," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 69-76, January.

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