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Gender Discrimination and Growth: Theory and Evidence from India

  • Berta Esteve-Volart

Gender inequality is an acute and persistent problem, especially in developing countries. This paper argues that gender discrimination is an inefficient practice. We model gender discrimination as the complete exclusion of females from the labor market or as the exclusion of females from managerial positions. The distortions in the allocation of talent between managerial and unskilled positions, and in human capital investment, are analyzed. It is found that both types of discrimination lower economic growth; and that the former also implies a reduction in per capita GDP, while the latter distorts the allocation of talent. Both types of discrimination imply lower female-to-male schooling ratios. We discuss the sustainability of social norms or stigma that can generate discrimination in the form described in this paper. We present evidence based on panel-data regressions across Indian states over 1961-1991 that is consistent with the model¿s predictions.

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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and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers with number 42.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stidep:42
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  1. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
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  3. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1995. "The Gender Gap, Fertility and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Forsythe, Nancy & Korzeniewicz, Roberto Patricio & Durrant, Valerie, 2000. "Gender Inequalities and Economic Growth: A Longitudinal Evaluation," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(3), pages 573-617, April.
  9. Francois, Patrick, 1998. "Gender discrimination without gender difference: theory and policy responses," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 1-32, April.
  10. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
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  12. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  13. Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1996. "Wealthier is Healthier," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 841-868.
  14. Seguino, Stephanie, 2000. "Gender Inequality and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1211-1230, July.
  15. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M., 1999. "Analyzing the gender pay gap," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 625-646.
  16. Thomas, D., 1992. "The Distribution of Income and Expenditure within the Household," Papers 669, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  17. William C. Horrace & Ronald L. Oaxaca, 2001. "Inter-industry wage differentials and the gender wage gap: An identification problem," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(3), pages 611-618, April.
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