Saturday, 16 February 2008

Do families spend more on boys than on girls?

An age old issue in China. However, the results might be surprising showing that rural China has no firm preference for spending on boys. I need to read the paper closely to make sure the methodology is robust but the results are plausible. In a one child family it makes sense to invest equally in education as an investment.

Do families spend more on boys than on girls? Empirical evidence from rural China

is a paper that has come out in the latest issue of China Economic Review (the premier China specific economics journal).

Do families spend more on boys than on girls? Empirical evidence from rural Chinastar, open

Yiu-fai Daniel LEE

Social Science Division Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clearwater Bay, Sai Kung, Hong Kong

Received 11 April 2005; accepted 20 June 2007. Available online 23 December 2007.


The issue of gender bias bears both theoretical significance and policy relevance. Using a household level dataset obtained from the China Standards of Living Survey 1995, this paper tests the gender bias hypothesis in terms of household consumption expenditures in rural China. To the contrary of the general impression that Chinese people have a strong cultural preference for sons, we do not find any strong evidence to support the hypothesis that boys are favored in rural China. We subject our baseline results to robustness checks from the implications of the bargaining approach and the preference for sons argument.

Keywords: Household production and intrahousehold allocation; Economics of gender; China

JEL classification codes: D13; J16; O53

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In a subsistent economy, one spend whatever one can afford to keep everyone alive. Gender preference just don't play a part until one has some discretion.