Parental gender bias and investment in children's health and education: evidence from Bangladesh

Lutfunnahar Begum, Philip J. Grossman, Asad Islam

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Studies have documented a gender bias in intrahousehold resource allocations in developing countries. Combining a field experiment allocation task and a household survey conducted in Bangladesh, we examine the association between parental gender bias and investment in children's health and education. The task was designed to circumvent the problem in which children's education attainment and health status or parents' expenditure on their children would affect allocation decisions; the outcome did not directly affect the subjects themselves or their own children. The task measures systematic bias arising possibly from sociocultural and religious norms. Biased parents allocate resources in a discriminatory manner. Boy-biased parents are more likely to enrol boys and to spend more on boys' education. They are less likely to seek formal treatment and to spend less when a girl is sick. Girl-biased parents do not seem to differentiate between sons and daughters with respect to education or health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1062
Number of pages18
JournalOxford Economic Papers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

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