Advertisement

Demography

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 1641–1662 | Cite as

Gender Bias in Parental Attitude: An Experimental Approach

  • Lutfunnahar Begum
  • Philip J. Grossman
  • Asadul Islam
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Parental bias Gender Allocation task Field experiment 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Lisa Cameron, Tim Cason, Gaurav Datt, Catherine Eckel, Lata Gangadharan, Glenn Harrison, John List, Yasuyuki Sawada, Russell Smyth, and Steven Stillman. We also thank the participants at the Australian Development Economics Workshop in Canberra, the Econometric Society Australasian Meeting in Sydney, the Asia Pacific Meeting of the Economic Science Association in Auckland, Monash University seminars, and Economic Research Group in Dhaka for their valuable comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this article.

Supplementary material

13524_2018_699_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (501 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 501 kb)

References

  1. Andersson, G., Hank, K., Rønsen, M., & Vikat, A. (2006). Gendering family composition: Sex preferences for children and childbearing behavior in the Nordic countries. Demography, 43, 255–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnold, F., Choe, M., & Roy, T. (1998). Son preference, the family-building process and child mortality in India. Population Studies, 52, 301–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ashraf, N. (2009). Spousal control and intra-household decision making: An experimental study in the Philippines. American Economic Review, 99, 1245–1277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barcellos, S. H., Carvalho, L. S., & Lleras-Muney, A. (2014). Child gender and parental investments in India: Are boys and girls treated differently? American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 6(1), 157–189.Google Scholar
  5. Bardhan, P. K. (1974). On life and death questions. Economic & Political Weekly, 9, 1293–1304.Google Scholar
  6. Basu, A. M. (1989). Is discrimination in food really necessary for explaining sex differentials in childhood mortality? Population Studies, 43, 193–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beaman, L., Raghabendra, C., Esther, D., Rohini, P., & Petia, T. (2009). Powerful women: Does exposure reduce bias? Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124, 1497–1540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Becker, G. S. (1957). The economics of discrimination. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  9. Becker, G. S. (1991). A treatise on the family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Begum, L., Islam, A., & Smyth, R. (2017). Girl power: Stipend programs and their effects on the education of younger siblings. Journal of Development Studies, 53, 1882–1898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Behrman, J. R., Pollak, R. A., & Taubman, P. (1982). Parental preferences and provisions for progeny. Journal of Political Economy, 90, 52–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bhalotra, S., & Attfield, C. (1998). Intrahousehold resource allocation in rural Pakistan: A semiparametric analysis. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 13, 463–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bhalotra, S., Valente, C., & van Soest, A. (2010). The puzzle of Muslim advantage in child survival in India. Journal of Health Economics, 29, 191–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Borooah, V. K., & Iyer, S. (2005). Vidya, Veda, and Varna: The influence of religion and caste on education in rural India. Journal of Development Studies, 41, 1369–1404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bose, S., & Bose, S. (2009, April). The role of parental perceptions in the gender bias in education in West Bengal, India: Results from a micro survey. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Detroit, MI.Google Scholar
  16. Bourguignon, F., & Chiappori, P. (1992). Collective models of household behavior: An introduction. European Economic Review, 36, 355–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cain, M. (1986). The consequences of reproductive failure: Dependence, mobility and mortality among the elderly of rural South Asia. Population Studies, 40, 375–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cain, M., Khanam, S. R., & Nahar, S. (1979). Class, patriarchy and women’s work in Bangladesh. Population and Development Review, 5, 405–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Carlsson, F., He, H., Martinsson, P., Qin, P., & Sutter, M. (2012). Household decision making in rural China: Using experiments to estimate the influences of spouses. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 84, 525–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Chen, L. C., Huq, E., & D’Souza, S. (1981). Sex bias in the family allocation of food and health care in rural Bangladesh. Population and Development Review, 7, 55–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Chowdhury, M. K., & Bairagi, R. (1990). Son preference and fertility in Bangladesh. Population and Development Review, 16, 749–757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Deaton, A. (1989). Looking for boy-girl discrimination in household expenditure data. World Bank Economic Review, 3, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Delavande, A., & Zafar, B. (2013). Gender discrimination and social identity: Experimental evidence from urban Pakistan (Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report No. 593). New York, NY: Federal Reserve Bank of New York.Google Scholar
  24. Derichs, C., & Fleschenberg, A. (Eds.) (2010). Religious fundamentalisms and their gendered impacts in Asia. Berlin, Germany: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.Google Scholar
  25. Emerson, P. M., & Souza, A. P. (2007). Child labor, school attendance, and intrahousehold gender bias in Brazil. World Bank Economic Review, 21, 301–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fehr, E., & Schmidt, K. M. (1999). A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114, 817–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fershtman, C., & Gneezy, U. (2001). Discrimination in a segmented society: An experimental approach. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116, 351–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Glaeser, E. L., & Ma, Y. (2013). The supply of gender stereotypes and discriminatory beliefs (NBER Working Paper No. 19109). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Goldin, C. (2002). A pollution theory of discrimination: Male and female occupations and earnings (NBER Working Paper No. 8985). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gupta, M. D. (1987). Selective discrimination against female children in rural Punjab, India. Population and Development Review, 13, 77–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hahn, Y., Islam, A., Nuzhat, K., Smyth, R., & Yang, H. (2018). Education, marriage, and fertility: Long-term evidence from a female stipend program in Bangladesh. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 66, 383–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Howland, C. W. (Ed.). (2001). Religious fundamentalisms and the human rights of women. New York, NY: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  33. Kingdon, G. G. (2002). The gender gap in educational attainment in India: How much can be explained? Journal of Development Studies, 39(2), 25–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lillard, L. A., & Willis, R. J. (1994). Intergenerational educational mobility: Effects of family and state in Malaysia. Journal of Human Resources, 29, 1126–1166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Maccini, S., & Yang, D. (2009). Under the weather: Health, schooling, and economic consequences of early-life rainfall. American Economic Review, 99, 1006–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Munro, A. (2018). Intra-household experiments: A survey. Journal of Economic Surveys, 32, 134–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Munshi, K., & Myaux, J. (2006). Social norms and the fertility transition. Journal of Development Economics, 80, 1–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Othman, N. (2006). Muslim women and the challenge of Islamic fundamentalism/extremism: An overview of southeast Asian Muslim women’s struggle for human rights and gender equality. Women’s Studies International Forum, 29, 339–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pande, R. P., & Astone, N. M. (2007). Explaining son preference in rural India: The independent role of structural versus individual factors. Population Research and Policy Review, 26, 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pitt, M. M., Rosenzweig, M. R., & Hassan, M. N. (1990). Productivity, health, and inequality in the intrahousehold distribution of food in low-income countries. American Economic Review, 80, 1139–1156.Google Scholar
  41. Rose, E. (2000). Gender bias, credit constraints and time allocation in rural India. Economic Journal, 110, 738–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rosenzweig, M. R., & Schultz, T. P. (1982). Market opportunities, genetic endowments, and intrafamily resource distribution: Child survival in rural India. American Economic Review, 72, 803–815.Google Scholar
  43. Rudman, L. A., & Fairchild, K. (2004). Reactions to counterstereotypic behavior: The role of backlash in cultural stereotype maintenance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 157–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sen, A. (2013). What’s happening in Bangladesh? Lancet, 382, 1966–1968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Thomas, D. (1990). Intra-household resource allocation: An inferential approach. Journal of Human Resources, 25, 635–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Thomas, D. (1994). Like father, like son; like mother, like daughter: Parental resources and child height. Journal of Human Resources, 29, 950–988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. United Nations Development Programme. (2010). Power, voice and rights: A turning point for gender equality in Asia and the Pacific (Asia-Pacific Human Development Report). New Delhi, India: Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lutfunnahar Begum
    • 1
  • Philip J. Grossman
    • 2
  • Asadul Islam
    • 3
  1. 1.National Board of RevenueDhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations