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The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India

  • Timothy Besley
  • Robin Burgess

Gaps in welfare attainment between boys and girls in China have attracted international attention. In this paper demand analysis is used to try and uncover the factors which may be driving the emergence of the gender gaps. Drawing on household expenditure data from a poor (Sichuan) and rich (Jiangsu) Chinese province we are able to test for different types of gender bias in intra-household allocation. Spending on health is found to be biased against young girls in the poor but not in the rich province, whereas there is a bias in education spending against older girls in both provinces. These biases in household spending were found to correspond to gender biases in mortality and enrolment outcomes as revealed in census data for the same year. Split sample analysis reveals that poorer, less diversified households exhibit stronger biases against girls. Taken together, the results suggest that son preference in rural China is not driven solely by cultural factors pointing to a potential role for public policy.

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Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers with number 28.

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Date of creation: Dec 2000
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stidep:28
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  2. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1997. "Cents and sociability : household income and social capital in rural Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1796, The World Bank.
  3. Ahluwalia, Deepak, 1993. "Public distribution of food in India : Coverage, targeting and leakages," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 33-54, February.
  4. Miguel, Edward A., 2001. "Ethnic Diversity and School Funding in Kenya," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt0101m00c, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. La Ferrara, Eliana, 2000. "Inequality And Group Participation: Theory And Evidence From Rural Tanzania," CEPR Discussion Papers 2433, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, 09.
  7. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 1998. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction and Growth: Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 13, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  8. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
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