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Parental education, gender preferences and child nutritional status: evidence from four developing countries

  • Novella, Rafael

This paper examines whether the distribution of bargaining power between parents affects permanent and transitory nutritional indicators in the early stages of boys’ and girls’ life. I use the Young Lives sample, which is a survey of young children living in poor households in Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh state), Peru and Vietnam. By adopting a methodology to disentangle gender differences produced by technology and preferences, I find evidence that the allocation of household resources varies with the gender of the child and the gender of the parents. After accounting for the potential endogeneity of the indicator of power distribution within the household, related to assortative mating in the marriage market, I find that maternal power has larger effects on girls’ health than on boys’ health in Peru and Vietnam. In contrast, in India, maternal bargaining power has a negative effect on girls’ health, whereas in Ethiopia no differential effect is found. Further analysis confirms that differences in parental behaviour drive the estimated effects and that these are robust to the inclusion of genetic information.

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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2013-06.

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Date of creation: 10 May 2013
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2013-06
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Phone: 44-1206-872957
Fax: 44-1206-873151
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
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  1. Silvia Helena Barcellos & Leandro S. Carvalho & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2014. "Child Gender and Parental Investments in India: Are Boys and Girls Treated Differently?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 157-89, January.
  2. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
  3. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1485-1538.
  4. Alain Marcoux, 2002. "Sex Differentials in Undernutrition: A Look at Survey Evidence," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(2), pages 275-284.
  5. Richard Blundell & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Thierry Magnac & Costas Meghir, 2007. "Collective Labour Supply: Heterogeneity and Non-Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 417-445.
  6. Browning, Martin & Francois Bourguignon & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Valerie Lechene, 1994. "Income and Outcomes: A Structural Model of Intrahousehold Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1067-96, December.
  7. Gitter, Seth R. & Barham, Bradford, 2007. "Women's Power, Conditional Cash Transfers and Schooling in Nicaragua," Staff Paper Series 517, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  8. Sharada Srinivasan & Arjun S. Bedi, 2011. "Ensuring Daughter Survival in Tamil Nadu, India," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(3), pages 253-283, March.
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  10. Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
  11. Jere R. Behrman & Anil B. Deolalikar, 1990. "The Intrahousehold Demand for Nutrients in Rural South India: Individual Estimates, Fixed Effects, and Permanent Income," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 665-696.
  12. Richard Blundell & Pierre-Andr� Chiappori & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Collective Labor Supply with Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1277-1306, December.
  13. Iliana Reggio, 2010. "The influence of the mother's power on her child's labor in Mexico," Economics Working Papers we101305, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  14. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2001. "Control and ownership of assets within rural Ethiopian households," FCND discussion papers 120, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  15. Behrman, Jere R, 1988. "Intrahousehold Allocation of Nutrients in Rural India: Are Boys Favored? Do Parents Exhibit Inequality Aversion?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 32-54, March.
  16. Basu, Kaushik & Ray, Ranjan, 2002. "The collective model of the household and an unexpected implication for child labor : hypothesis and an empirical test," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2813, The World Bank.
  17. Haughton, Dominique & Haughton, Jonathan, 1997. "Explaining Child Nutrition in Vietnam," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 541-56, April.
  18. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Child Health and Household Resources in South Africa: Evidence from the Old Age Pension Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 393-398, May.
  19. Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Does Female Income Share Influence Household Expenditures? Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
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