Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name

Quantitative Economics


Economic Research Unit (ERU-Kolkata)


Majumder, Amita (ERU-Kolkata; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

There exists a vast literature with evidences of gender discrimination against females in allocation of goods and services at regional/national level in India. Evidence of gender bias on Indian data include, among many others, studies by Subramanian and Deaton (1991), Azam and Kingdon (2013), Kingdon (2005), Drèze and Kingdon (2001), Zimmerman (2012) and Lancaster, Maitra, and Ray (2008). India has a history of preference for sons over daughters for cultural and economic reasons. This is manifested through high birth sex ratios, which is possibly a result of female foeticide. The child sex ratio is within the normal natural range in all eastern and southern states of India, but is significantly higher in certain western and particularly northwestern states (Census 2011).Discrimination against women is also evident from gender pay gap, which refers to the difference in earnings between women and men in the paid employment and labor market. For the year 2013, the gender pay gap in India was estimated to be 24.81% (Varkkey and Korde, 2013). Some of the main factors that contribute to the existing gender pay gap in India are the following: (i) Occupational segregation: this is mainly concentrated in rural areas in the agricultural sector, where the rate of female participation in the paid labor market is generally low (Elborgh-Woytek et al., 2013); (ii) Cultural barriers and social norms (Nussbaum et al., 1995) and (iii) Education and training, investment in which has also been strongly in favour of men, as they are brought up with the expectation of being bread earners, while women are instead viewed as "future homemakers", for whom education may not be as essential (Rustagi2005; Ghosh, 2010). Moreover, households consider investment on a girl child’s education an additional monetary burden over and above the dowry and expenditure on marriage.This thesis focuses on gender bias in the field of education, where a substantial number of studies on India point to the existence of such bias. Broadly, the research papers on gender bias in education can be categorized into two groups of issues: (i) school participation and (ii) expenditure on education.In the context of school participation (enrolment rate and dropout behaviour), Kambhampati and Pal (2001), and Pal (2004), using data from rural West Bengal, found significant evidence that paternal and maternal education explain gender differences in both school enrolment and attainment. While father’s education level has a positive impact on boys’ schooling only and does not have any perceptible impact on girls, mother’s literacy significantly enhances the probability of school enrolment among girls, but it is non-significant for boys. Evidences of female backwardness in education are found in studies by Balatchandirane (2003), which reports that ‘South Asia records a net enrolment rate for girls which is 20 per cent less than that for boys’, and by Bandyopadhyay and Subrahmanian (2008) noting that India constitutes almost 30% of the illiterate world population and 70% of them are women. Drèze and Kingdon (2001) found strong evidence of sharp gender bias against girls in school participation in rural north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.


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