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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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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/6641/
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 6641.

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Length: 68 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6641
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  1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The political economy of government responsiveness: theory and evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Seguino, Stephanie, 2000. "Gender Inequality and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1211-1230, July.
  3. 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.
  4. William C. Horrace & Ronald L. Oaxaca, 2001. "Inter-Industry Wage Differentials and the Gender Wage Gap: An Identification Problem," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(3), pages 611-618, April.
  5. 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.
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
  7. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," NBER Working Papers 3530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Malathy Duraisamy & P. Duraisamy, 1999. "Gender Bias in the Scientific and Technical Labour Market: A Comparative Study of Tamil Nadu and Kerala," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 34(2), pages 149-169, July.
  9. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-87, June.
  10. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-08, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  11. Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Wealthier is healthier," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1150, The World Bank.
  12. Thomas, D., 1992. "The Distribution of Income and Expenditure within the Household," Papers 669, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  13. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
  14. Mikael Lindahl & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Education for Growth: Why and for Whom?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1101-1136, December.
  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. Berta Esteve-Volart, 2000. "Sex Discrimination and Growth," IMF Working Papers 00/84, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Francois, Patrick, 1998. "Gender discrimination without gender difference: theory and policy responses," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 1-32, April.
  18. Claudia Goldin, 1994. "The U-Shaped Female Labor Force Function in Economic Development and Economic History," NBER Working Papers 4707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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