Does Gender and Birth Order Matter when Parents Specialize in Child’s Nutrition? Evidence from Chile
Using household survey data from Chile the current paper presents evidence of how the nutritional status of the child reflects differences in parental preferences and child rearing technology within an intra-household allocation approach that includes a health production function. From the household optimization problem we estimate the nutritional status of the child conditional on a set of child, family and community covariates that reflect parental preferences and parental child rearing technology. We test directly whether birth-order in the family and whether being a son or being a daughter reflect how parents allocate the resources, given that the Chilean family is often linked to a machismo sentiment in the division of household chores. Logit estimates of the nutritional status of the child show gender specialization on child rearing: mothers give more resources to their daughters and fathers to their sons. This gender polarity is significant for non-oldest daughters and non-oldest sons, reflecting perhaps infant-order experience in child-care specialization. We also find that father’s education is less important than mother’s education. Nevertheless, mothers with higher education levels than their spouse seem to assign less family resources to their children than those who are relatively less educated.
Volume (Year): 3 (2000)
Issue (Month): (November)
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