NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Child Gender And Parental Investments In India: Are Boys And Girls Treated Differently?

Silvia H. Barcellos, Leandro Carvalho, Adriana Lleras-Muney

NBER Working Paper No. 17781
Issued in January 2012
NBER Program(s):   CH   HE   LS

Although previous research has not always found that boys and girls are treated differently in rural India, son-biased stopping rules imply that estimates of the effect of gender on parental investments are likely to be biased because girls systematically end up in larger families. We propose a novel identification strategy for overcoming this bias. We document that boys receive significantly more childcare time than girls. In addition boys are more likely to be breastfed longer, and to be given vaccinations and vitamin supplementation. We then present suggestive evidence that the differential treatment of boys is neither due to their greater needs nor to the effect of anticipated family size.

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