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Child Schooling and Work Decisions in India: The Role of Household and Regional Gender Equity

  • Uma Sarada Kambhampati

This paper tests three hypotheses about how mothers' autonomy in India affects their children's participation in school and the labor market. To do so it extends the concept of mothers' autonomy beyond the household to include the constraints imposed by the extent of gender equity in the regions in which these women live. This study began with the expectation that increased autonomy for Indian mothers living in heterosexual households would increase child schooling and decrease child work. However, the results are mixed, indicating that mother's autonomy can be reinforced or constrained by the environment. The paper concludes that mothers and fathers in India make different decisions for girls vis-a-vis boys and that the variables reflecting mothers' autonomy vary in their impact, so that mothers' level of education relative to fathers' is not often statistically significant, while mothers' increased contributions to household expenditure decrease the probability of schooling and girls' work.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 77-112

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Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:15:y:2009:i:4:p:77-112
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  1. Geoffrey Lancaster & Pushkar Maitra & Ranjan Ray, 2006. "Endogenous Intra-household Balance of Power and its Impact on Expenditure Patterns: Evidence from India," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(291), pages 435-460, 08.
  2. Kaushik Basu, 2006. "Gender and Say: a Model of Household Behaviour with Endogenously Determined Balance of Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 558-580, 04.
  3. Patrick M. Emerson & Andre Portela Souza, 2002. "Bargaining over Sons and Daughters: Child Labor, School Attendance and Intra-Household Gender Bias in Brazil," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0213, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  4. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Maluccio, John A., 2000. "Intrahousehold allocation and gender relations," FCND briefs 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Uma Kambhampati & Raji Rajan, 2004. "Economic Growth: A Panacea for Child Labour?," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2004-12, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  6. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
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