Children and economic development: Family size, gender preferences and human capital formation - theory and Indian cases

Clem Tisdell (2002). Children and economic development: Family size, gender preferences and human capital formation - theory and Indian cases. Working Papers on Social Economics, Policy and Development 25, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Clem Tisdell
Title Children and economic development: Family size, gender preferences and human capital formation - theory and Indian cases
School, Department or Centre School of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Open Access Status Other
Series Working Papers on Social Economics, Policy and Development
Report Number 25
Publication date 2002-05-01
Language eng
Subject 1402 Applied Economics
140202 Economic Development and Growth
1603 Demography
Abstract/Summary In the light of Gary Becker's economic theory of the family, considers how economic cost and benefit factors can influence the size of families that parents decide to have. Some support for the importance of such factors is found from results of structured interviews with wives in Kondh-dominated villages in western Orissa. These results are at variance with the hypothesis of Malthus about population growth. Factors that may alter the optimal family size as development proceeds are discussed. It is found in our sampling that, on the whole, there is a preference for daughters rather than sons although this is not as strong in the Kondh-dominated villages as in poor villages in the Santal tribal belt of West Bengal. While in the Kondh-dominated villages some discrimination in access to education in favour of boys compared to girls is present, little such or no such discrimination occurs in relation to access to food and medical attention. In the villages surveyed in the West Bengal Santal tribal belt, discrimination in favour of boys is more pronounced than in the Kondh-dominated area in Orissa. While economic considerations help to explain gender discrimination between boys and girls, we find that social and cultural factors also play a major role. Parents in a similar economic situation seem to display substantially different patterns of gender discrimination between children depending on their social and cultural content. It seems that the extent to which economic theories of the family explain family preferences and behaviour depend significantly on the social and cultural context in which they are to be applied.
Keyword gender inequality
India
family size
Economic development
gender preference

 
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Created: Tue, 14 Aug 2007, 13:27:08 EST