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Inequality in Child Academic Achievement in Single Parent Households: Evidence from Brazil


  • Andrew W. Horowitz

    () (Department of Economics, Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas)

  • Andre Portela Souza

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University and Department of Economics, University of Sao Paulo)


In this paper we compare the intra-household dispersion of children�s education achievement in single female-parent households with two-parent households. We find significantly more dispersion across children in households� headed by females after controlling for household per-capita permanent income and other anticipated correlates. These results are robust and suggest that single-female parents are forced to alter the distribution as well as the level of household investment in children. Our empirical analysis is preceded by development of a theoretical model that suggests the correlation between the intra-household dispersion of academic achievement and single-parenthood may be general; i.e., not specific to Brazil. These results may have important policy implications for the interventions and incentives that target single parent households.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew W. Horowitz & Andre Portela Souza, 2004. "Inequality in Child Academic Achievement in Single Parent Households: Evidence from Brazil," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0425, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0425

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew W. Horowitz & Andre Portela Souza, 2004. "The Dispersion of Intra-Household Human Capital Across Children: A Measurement Strategy and Evidence," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0408, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    2. Ono, Hiroshi, 2004. "Are sons and daughters substitutable?: Allocation of family resources in contemporary Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 143-160, June.
    3. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
    4. Emerson, Patrick M. & Souza, André Portela, 2008. "Birth Order, Child Labor, and School Attendance in Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1647-1664, September.
    5. Ricardo Barros & David Lam, 2015. "Income Inequality in Education, and Children's Schooling Attainment in Brazil," Discussion Papers 0041, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    6. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 158-175, March.
    7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "How Well Do Parents With Young Children Combine Work and Family Life," NBER Working Papers 10247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
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    More about this item


    Human capital distribution; intra-household allocation; single-parent household;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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