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Gender patterns in household health expenditure allocation: A study of South Africa

  • Margaret Irving
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    This paper explores the extent and nature of gender differences, by age, in household health expenditure allocation.� Using South African data, we adopt a hurdle methodology, constructing a sequence of decision stages (reporting sickness, consulting medical practitioner, incurring positive medical expenditure, and the conditional amount of expenditure) in order to examine all these possible channels of gender differentiation.� Our results provide evidence of significant pro-female bias among prime age persons (ages 16-40) after controlling for gender differences in the opportunity cost of time spent on seeking medical attention.� We infer that expenditure on female health if viewed as an important investment in household welfare in light of women's contribution to household production, particularly over child bearing/rearing ages.� This provides an alternative narrative to the 'investment motive' hypothesis traditionally employed to explain differential allocation of resources to males and females within the household.� We also compare the relative explanatory power of household and individual level equations in revealing intra-household gender bias.� Our findings suggest that the dimensions of gender differentiation are revealed more clearly in individual level regressions.

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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2008-32text.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number CSAE WPS/2008-32.

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    Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:csae-wps/2008-32
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    Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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    1. Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra, 2000. "Testing for Son Preference in South Africa," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0072, Econometric Society.
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