Gender disparities in primary education across siblings: is intra household disparity higher in regions with low child sex ratios?

Zakir Husain, Institute of Economic Growth (IEG)
Mousumi Dutta, Presidency University
Manashi Saha, Presidency University

Strong son preference in developing countries often motivates parents to undertake sex selection at birth, infanticide, and subsequent neglect of daughters, leading to low child sex ratios in these countries. An interesting question is whether such attitudes also lead to gender discrimination in primary education. While there is a vast literature on inter-household gender discrimination in education, studies of discrimination between siblings is comparatively rare. This paper asks the question: Do parents tend to educate sons more than daughters? Using unit level National Sample Survey Organization data for the 61st Round (2004-2005), we analyze disparity in primary educational attainments between siblings and examine whether such intra-household disparity is higher in areas where child sex ratios are low. Findings indicate that parental attitude towards education and practices may be more complicated and less uniformly negative at lower levels of education than commonly portrayed.

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Presented in Poster Session 3