Gender bias in parental attitude: an experimental approach

Lutfunnahar Begum, Philip J. Grossman, Asadul Islam

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Parental bias toward children of a particular gender has been widely observed in many societies. Such bias could be due to pure gender preference or differences in earning opportunities and concern for old-age support. We conduct a high-stakes allocation task (subjects allocate the equivalent of one day’s wages between male and female school-aged students) in rural Bangladesh to examine parental attitudes toward male and female children. Parents, either jointly or individually, allocated freely or restricted endowments for the benefit of anonymous girls or boys at a nearby school. We examine whether there is any systematic bias among fathers and mothers and, if so, whether such bias differs when they make the decision individually or jointly. The results suggest (1) bias both for and against boys or girls but no systematic bias by either parent; and (2) no significant differences in individual and joint decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1641-1662
Number of pages22
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Allocation task
  • Field experiment
  • Gender
  • Parental bias

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