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Is it Better to be a Boy? A Disaggregated Outlay Equivalent Analysis of Gender Bias in Papua New Guinea

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  • John Gibson
  • Scott Rozelle

Abstract

The demographic evidence of gender bias in many countries has provided an impetus for finding ways to study the status of women in developing countries. Because of the lack of accurate intra-household data, Deaton [1989] introduced a method for using household expenditure data to infer discrimination in the allocation of goods between boys and girls. Few studies of discrimination using the method, however, have detected bias even though alternative indicators suggest it is a serious problem. In this paper, we study the case of Papua New Guinea, a country in which there are many indicators of severe gender bias. Discrimination in the allocation of goods between boys and girls within households in Papua New Guinea is examined using Deaton's outlay-equivalent ratio method. Adding a boy to the household reduces expenditure on adult goods by as much as would a nine-tenths reduction in total outlay per member, but girls have no effect on adult goods expenditure. The hypothesis of Haddad and Reardon [1993] that gender bias is inversely related to the importance of female labour in agricultural production is not supported. Sensitivity analysis shows that bias in rural areas occurs equally regardless of the age of the household head, while bias against girls may be less in regions of the country that have ethnic groups which practice matrilineal descent.

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  • John Gibson & Scott Rozelle, 2004. "Is it Better to be a Boy? A Disaggregated Outlay Equivalent Analysis of Gender Bias in Papua New Guinea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 115-136.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:40:y:2004:i:4:p:115-136
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380410001673210
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Haddad, Lawrence & Kanbur, Ravi, 1990. "How Serious Is the Neglect of Intra-Household Inequality?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(402), pages 866-881, September.
    2. Gibson, John, 2001. "Literacy and Intrahousehold Externalities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 155-166, January.
    3. Ahmad, A. & Morduch, J., 1993. "Identifying Sex Bias in the Allocation of Household Resources: Evidence from Linked Household Surveys from Bangladesh," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1636, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    4. Deaton, Angus S & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier & Thomas, Duncan, 1989. "The Influence of Household Composition on Household Expenditure Patterns: Theory and Spanish Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 179-200, February.
    5. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Child Survival in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 803-815, September.
    6. Duncan Overfield, 1998. "An Investigation of the Household Economy: Coffee Production and Gender Relations in Papua New Guinea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(5), pages 52-70.
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    Cited by:

    1. Masahiro Hori & Nahoko Mitsuyama & Satoshi Shimizutani, 2016. "New Evidence on Intra-Household Allocation of Resources in Japanese Households," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 77-95, March.
    2. Monazza Aslam & Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 2008. "Gender and household education expenditure in Pakistan," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(20), pages 2573-2591.

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