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Female Household-Headship in Rural Bangladesh: Incidence, Determinants and Impact on Children's Schooling Shareen Joshi


  • Shareen Joshi


This paper uses data from Matlab, Bangladesh to examine the characteristics of female-headed households and estimate the impact of female-headship on children's schooling. Female householdheads in Matlab fall into two broad groups: widows and married women, most of whom are wives of migrants. These women differ from each other not only in their current socio-economic circumstances, but also in their backgrounds and circumstances prior to getting married. To identify the effects of female-headship on children's outcomes, I use a two-stage least squares strategy that controls for the possible endogeneity of both types of female-headship. Results indicate that children residing in households headed by married women have stronger schooling attainments than children in other households, while children of widows are more likely to work outside the home. The hypothesis of exogeneity of female-headship is rejected in most cases.

Suggested Citation

  • Shareen Joshi, 2004. "Female Household-Headship in Rural Bangladesh: Incidence, Determinants and Impact on Children's Schooling Shareen Joshi," Working Papers 894, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:894

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    11. Buvinic, Mayra & Gupta, Geeta Rao, 1997. "Female-Headed Households and Female-Maintained Families: Are They Worth Targeting to Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 259-280, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Do, Q-T & Iyer, S. & Joshi, S., 2006. "The Economics of Consanguinity," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0653, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Erica Field & Attila Ambrus, 2008. "Early Marriage, Age of Menarche, and Female Schooling Attainment in Bangladesh," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 881-930, October.
    3. Ryan Mason & Patrick Ndlovu & John Parkins & Marty Luckert, 2015. "Determinants of food security in Tanzania: gendered dimensions of household headship and control of resources," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 32(3), pages 539-549, September.
    4. Mansuri, Ghazala, 2006. "Migration, school attainment, and child labor : evidence from rural Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3945, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    Female-headed Households; Widowhood; Migration; Schooling;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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