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The 'Nowhere' Children: Patriarchy and the Role of Girls in India's Rural Economy

Listed author(s):
  • Uma S. Kambhampati


    (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • Raji Rajan

    (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

The paper is motivated by an apparent paradox – boys seem to participate more both in the labour market and in school than girls. This pattern breaks down once we take the household work done by girls into account. In this paper, we find that there is symmetry between the factors that make women’s contribution to the household economy less ‘visible’ than men’s and the factors that reduce girl’s involvement in outside work. Both are related to the kind of sociocultural environment in which households operate in India. Analysing the School, Work and household chores options for girls, we find that the kinship system prevalent in different regions as well as amongst different religions and castes is a significant determinant of these choices. In addition, we find that increases in household income do not decrease the probability of girls doing household chores, reinforcing our conclusion that non-economic factors are important. Our results confirm, once again, that while daughter’s labour complements mother’s work within family enterprises, it substitutes for mothers in household chores when the mother works outside the home.

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Paper provided by Henley Business School, Reading University in its series Economics & Management Discussion Papers with number em-dp2004-21.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2004-21
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