Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 1355–1380 | Cite as

Sibling rivalry and gender gap: intrahousehold substitution of male and female educational investments from male migration prospects

  • Slesh A. ShresthaEmail author
  • Nethra Palaniswamy
Original Paper


Improved migration prospects for men could have negative spillover effects on women. We use an exogenous change in an education-based policy for recruiting Nepali men to work in the British Army to examine the effect of new job prospects for men on the human capital of women within the same household. Men who were directly exposed to this change raised their education. These gains came at the expense of their female siblings, who lost 0.12 years of schooling and increased their participation in economic activities. This spillover accounts for a 8% decline in female education and widens the gender gap by 31%. For every additional year of education completed by men, female siblings “lose” 0.394 years of education. This gender spillover is more severe for poor and agricultural households that are more resource constrained.


Migration Gender Gap Education Intrahousehold allocation 

JEL Classification

D13 F22 J16 O15 



The authors would like to thank Dean Yang, Raj Arunachalam, David Lam, Susan Dynarski, Charles Brown, John Bound, Erich Battistin, Emily Beam, Tatsushi Oka, and seminar and conference participants at the University of Michigan, National University of Singapore, Northeast Universities Development Consortium Conference, Migration and Development Conference, and Asian Meeting of Econometric Society for comments and guidance. This article benefited greatly from the comments of the editor and anonymous referees and would not have been possible without the support of the Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission of Nepal for its assistance with the data.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Poverty Global PracticeThe World BankWashingtonUSA

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