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Are girls the fairer sex in India? Revisiting intra-household allocation of education expenditure

  • Mehtabul Azam
  • Geeta Kingdon

This paper revisits the issue of the intra-household allocation of education expenditure with the recently available India Human Development Survey which refers to 2005 and covers both urban and rural areas. In addition to the traditional Engel method, the paper utilizes a Hurdle model to disentangle the decision to enroll (incur any educational expenditure) and the decision of how much to spend on education, conditional on enrolling. Finally the paper also uses household fixed effects to examine whether any gender bias is a within-household phenomenon. The paper finds that the traditional Engel method often fails to pick up gender bias where it exists not only because of the aggregation of data at the household-level but also because of aggregation of the two decisions in which gender can have opposite signs. It is found that pro-male gender bias exists in the primary school age group for several states but that the incidence of gender bias increases with age – it is greater in the middle school age group (10-14 years) and greater still in the secondary school age group (15-19 years). However, gender discrimination in the secondary school age group 15-19 takes place mainly through the decision to enroll boys and not girls, and not through differential expenditure on girls and boys. The results also suggest that the extent of pro-male gender bias in educational expenditure is substantially greater in rural than in urban areas. Finally, our results suggest that an important mechanism through which households spend less on girls than boys is by sending sons to fee-charging private schools and daughters to the fee-free government-funded schools.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2011-10.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2011-10
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  1. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2005. "Where Has All the Bias Gone? Detecting Gender Bias in the Intrahousehold Allocation of Educational Expenditure," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 409-51, January.
  2. Abu-Ghaida, Dina & Klasen, Stephan, 2004. "The Costs of Missing the Millennium Development Goal on Gender Equity," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1075-1107, July.
  3. Christopher Colclough & Geeta Kingdon & Harry Patrinos, 2010. "The Changing Pattern of Wage Returns to Education and its Implications," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 28(6), pages 733-747, November.
  4. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1998. "Does the labour market explain lower female schooling in India?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 39-65.
  5. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1997. "Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food," Papers 178, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  6. Nancy Birdsall & David Ross & Richard Sabot, 1993. "Underinvestment in Education: How Much Growth has Pakistan Foregone?," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 32(4), pages 453-499.
  7. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 2007. "The progress of school education in India," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-071, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Jean Dreze & Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1999. "School participation in rural India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6666, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Paul Schultz, T., 2002. "Why Governments Should Invest More to Educate Girls," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 207-225, February.
  10. Rozana Himaz, 2010. "Intrahousehold Allocation of Education Expenditure: The Case of Sri Lanka," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 231-258, 01.
  11. Monazza Aslam & Geeta Kingdon, 2005. "Gender and Household Education Expenditure in Pakistan," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-025, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. McMahon, Walter W., 2002. "Education and Development: Measuring the Social Benefits," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199250721, March.
  13. Deaton, Angus S, 1989. "Looking for Boy-Girl Discrimination in Household Expenditure Data," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 3(1), pages 1-15, January.
  14. Geoffrey Lancaster & Pushkar Maitra & Ranjan Ray, 2008. "Household Expenditure Patterns and Gender Bias: Evidence from Selected Indian States," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 133-157.
  15. Monazza Aslam, 2009. "The relative effectiveness of government and private schools in Pakistan: are girls worse off?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 329-354.
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