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The 'Nowhere' Children: Patriarchy and the Role of Girls in India's Rural Economy


  • Uma Kambhampati
  • Raji Rajan


This paper analyses the contribution that girls make to the rural economy in India through their involvement in the labour market as well as in household chores. We model this in the context of the very different institutional and familial arrangements for girl children prevalent in different parts of India. Analysing the determinants of these activities within a multivariate probit model, we find that the best possible outcome for girls is in districts with high female literacy because here the probability of schooling increases and the probability of work decreases. Less satisfactory but still acceptable outcomes arise in districts where the female labour participation is high. Our results also show that the presence of very young siblings in the household worsens the probability of girls going to school or even working. The presence of older female siblings improves the chances of schooling while that of older male siblings increases the probability of girls doing household chores.

Suggested Citation

  • Uma Kambhampati & Raji Rajan, 2008. "The 'Nowhere' Children: Patriarchy and the Role of Girls in India's Rural Economy," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(9), pages 1309-1341.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:44:y:2008:i:9:p:1309-1341
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380802264978

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ellen Webbink & Jeroen Smits & Eelke Jong, 2013. "Household and Context Determinants of Child Labor in 221 Districts of 18 Developing Countries," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 819-836, January.
    2. Kambhampati, Uma S. & Rajan, Raji, 2006. "Economic growth: A panacea for child labor?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 426-445, March.
    3. Mikołaj Szołtysek & Radoslaw Poniat & Sebastian Klüsener & Siegfried Gruber, 2017. "Family organisation and human capital inequalities in historic Europe: testing the association anew," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-012, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Kelly Jones, 2014. "Growing Up Together: Cohort Composition and Child Investment," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(1), pages 229-255, February.
    5. Krisztina Kis-Katos, 2012. "Gender differences in work-schooling decisions in rural North India," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 491-519, December.
    6. Webbink, Ellen & Smits, Jeroen & de Jong, Eelke, 2012. "Hidden Child Labor: Determinants of Housework and Family Business Work of Children in 16 Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 631-642.

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