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Sons or Daughters? Endogenous Sex Preferences and the Reversal of the Gender Educational Gap

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  • Hazan, Moshe
  • Zoabi, Hosny

Abstract

This paper provides a new explanation for the narrowing and reversal of the gender education gap. It highlights the indirect effect of returns to human capital on parents' preferences for sons and the resulting demand for children and education. We assume that parents maximize the full income of their children and that males have an additional income, independently of their level of education. This additional income has two effects. First, it biases parental preferences towards sons. Second, it implies that females have relative advantage in producing income through education. We show that when the relative returns to human capital are sufficiently low, the bias in parents' preferences towards sons is relatively high, so that parents who have daughters first have more children. Daughters are born to larger families and hence receive less education. As returns to human capital increase, gender differences in producing income diminish, parents' bias towards sons declines, variation in family size falls and the positive correlation between family size and the number of daughters is weakened. When returns to human capital are sufficiently high, the relative advantage of females in education dominates differences in family size, triggering the reversal in gender education gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Hazan, Moshe & Zoabi, Hosny, 2012. "Sons or Daughters? Endogenous Sex Preferences and the Reversal of the Gender Educational Gap," CEPR Discussion Papers 8885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8885
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    Cited by:

    1. Strulik, Holger, 2015. "Desire and Development," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112818, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. David de la Croix & Clara Delavallade, 2015. "Religions, Fertility and Growth in South-East Asia," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2015002, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    3. Dao, N.T. & Davila, J., 2015. "Gender inequality, technological progress, and the demographic transition," CORE Discussion Papers 2015038, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    4. Yousef Daoud & Belal Fallah, 2016. "The differential impact of employment in agriculture on wages for rural and non-rural Palestine," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, December.
    5. Daoud Yousef & Fallah Belal, 2014. "Rural Wage Employment: Is There a Premium for Agriculture?," Working Papers 837, Economic Research Forum, revised Jun 2014.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility; Gender Gender Educational Gap; Returns to Human Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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