Intra-Household Gender-Bias In Child Educational Spending In Rural Ethiopia: Panel Evidence

  • A Delelegn Ethiopian Economic Association//Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute Poverty and Human Resources Division

Abstract

Qualitative and quantitative evidence reveals pervasive gender discrimination in many social and economic aspects in least developing countries, including Ethiopia. Investment in child schooling is an important dimension of this discrimination, which has a lasting consequence on both the child and the country’s economic development as a whole. The main objective of this study is to uncover if there is any intra-household gender-bias in the decision to enrollment and allocation of resources to child education. Using a panel data set from Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (ERHS), spanning from 1994-2004, we applied a panel hurdle models consisting of random effects probit for the initial decision in enrollment and conditional linear autoregressive model for the proportion spent. We found statistically significant gender-bias during the initial decision to enrollment against girls, especially those corresponding to secondary school cycle. Since the bias occurs inside the household, public investments should not only focus on facilitating access to school but also work towards altering the demand side as parents have differential preference towards siblings’ education. Policies that increase returns to girl’s education, increasing intrahousehold productivity, legislations that prohibit early marriage, etc. could mitigate the observed level of intra-household gender-bias against girls aged 15-19 years.

Keywords: Gender-bias, Hurdle models, children’s education, rural, Ethiopia.

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eISSN: 1993-3681