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Within-Family Inequalities in Human Capital Accumulation in India: Birth Order and Gender Effects

Authors Heather Congdon Fors
Annika Lindskog
Publisher University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Gothenburg
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Economics
Language en
Keywords Birth order, Son preferences, Gender, Human Capital, Education
Subject categories Economics


In this paper we investigate birth order and gender effects on the development of children’s human capital in India. We investigate both indicators of the child’s current stock of human capital and of investment into their continued human capital accumulation, distinguishing between time investments and pecuniary investment into school quality. Our results show that in India, birth order effects are mostly negative. More specifically, birth order effects are negative for indicators of children's accumulated human capital stock and for indicators of pecuniary investments into school quality. These results are more in line with previous results from developed countries than from developing countries. However, for time investments, which are influenced by the opportunity cost of child time, birth order effects are positive. Gender aspects are also important. Girls are disadvantaged within families, and oldest son preferences can explain much of the within-household inequalities which we observe.

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