Analysing Changes in Gender Difference in Learning in Rural India over Time
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In this paper we use data from three rounds (2009, 2012 and 2014) of the ASER survey in order to analyse the changes in gender differences in learning outcomes over time for children belonging to rural India. Despite the existing literature on gender differences, this study is the first to analyse such changes over time for the Indian context. We find that gender differences in learning continue to exist and that these differences have increased over time in favour of boys. Decomposition analysis suggests that only a small percentage of the gender difference in performance can be explained by the differences in the observed characteristics across the two groups. We also find that our results are heterogeneous across different levels of mother’s education and regions. Our findings highlight upon the failure of the recent interventions by the Indian Government in reducing existing gender differences and a move away from the stated objective of achieving gender equality in learning outcomes as under the Dakar Framework for Action. Besides, an increase in the gender difference in learning might further substantiate the existing gender difference in related education and labour market outcomes.
KeywordsGender differences Learning outcomes Female disadvantage Rural India
JEL classificationI2 J24
The author would like to thank Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay, S. Chandrasekhar, Soham Sahoo, Shampa Bhattacharjee, Ashokankur Datta, Gitanjali Sen, participants at the Public Policy Conference at IIM-B and anonymous reviewers for their detailed comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of the paper. The data used in the paper was shared by the ASER Centre as a part of the ASER Call for Paper 2015.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
No conflict of interest exists.
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