Gender differences in Italian children’s capabilities
Child well-being is analysed in this paper using the capability approach with a special focus on gender differences. The capabilities analysed are senses imagination and thought and play. These are crucial dimensions in the definition of child well-being and the country analysed performs particularly badly, with regards other industrialized countries. We estimate a Structural Equation Model (SEM) where the two capabilities are defined as latent variables which are intrinsically interrelated. For each of these capabilities, a set of indicators of functionings is utilised. The model is applied to Italian data for 2008. The results imply strong gender differences among Italian children. In particular, highly educated parents invest more in girls' capability of senses imagination and thought than in the boys' capability. On the other hand highly educated parents invest more on their children's play activities the effect being similar for boys and girls. Assuming parents education as a proxy for family income, this confirms the well-known result of higher income elasticities for girls' education (measured here with the capability of senses imagination and thought) with respect to boys education
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