How structure of production determines the demand for human capital
On the issue of women's status, the objectives of this paper are twofold. First, it attempts to make precise some of the claims and allegations regarding the existence of bias against females in the allocation of resources within the household. The idea is to formulate these questions explicitly, so that it is possible to identify whether and to what degree there is evidence of this bias. Second, it identifies causes of this bias with the objective of isolating key factors that can be used for policy. In contrast to earlier studies that attemptto account for male-female differences in human capital, the authors do not assume any discrimination against females either at home (in the parent's utility function) or in the market (in the returns to human capital). It is assumed, however, that women have a comparative advantage in working in some sectors of the economy. Thus, increases in the shares of these sectors will increase the demand for female human capital. This explicit attention to factors that can be used as policy instruments -- and the relative neglect of factors reflecting gender bias in tastes -- is the point of departure from earlier literature. This paper develops the theory, tests the hypotheses, and concludes with a discussion of the policy implications.
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