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Child Gender And Parental Investments In India: Are Boys And Girls Treated Differently?

  • Silvia H. Barcellos
  • Leandro Carvalho
  • Adriana Lleras-Muney

Although previous research has not always found that boys and girls are treated differently in rural India, son-biased stopping rules imply that estimates of the effect of gender on parental investments are likely to be biased because girls systematically end up in larger families. We propose a novel identification strategy for overcoming this bias. We document that boys receive significantly more childcare time than girls. In addition boys are more likely to be breastfed longer, and to be given vaccinations and vitamin supplementation. We then present suggestive evidence that the differential treatment of boys is neither due to their greater needs nor to the effect of anticipated family size.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17781.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Publication status: published as “Child gender and Parental Investments in India: Are boys and Girls Treated Differently?” forthcoming, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. (joint with Silvia H. Barcellos and Leandro Carvalho)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17781
Note: CH HE LS
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  1. Gangadharan, L. & Maitra, P., 1999. "Testing for Son Preference in South Africa," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 724, The University of Melbourne.
  2. Qian, Nancy, 2006. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," CEPR Discussion Papers 5986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2009. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less Than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," NBER Working Papers 15041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Seema Jayachandran & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2008. "Life Expectancy and Human Capital Investments: Evidence From Maternal Mortality Declines," NBER Working Papers 13947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Borooah, Vani K., 2004. "Gender bias among children in India in their diet and immunisation against disease," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(9), pages 1719-1731, May.
  17. Tarozzi, Alessandro, 2008. "Growth reference charts and the nutritional status of Indian children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 455-468, December.
  18. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
  19. 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.
  20. Rohini Pande & Nan Astone, 2007. "Explaining son preference in rural India: the independent role of structural versus individual factors," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-29, February.
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