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Gender Bias in Education: the Role of Inter-household Externality, Dowry and Other Social Institutions

Abstract

We analyze gender bias in school enrollment by developing a two-period model where women become part of extended families of their in-laws. Each family decides how many children are sent to school and thus become skilled. Gender bias occurs due to failure of the families to internalize inter-household externalities. ‘Groom-price’ dowry worsens the situation. Under ‘bride-price’ dowry, bias exists if and only if the skill premium in the labor market is bigger than that in the marriage market. A specific discriminatory ‘food-for-education’ policy is shown to reduce bias, but increase total enrollment. Finally, using cross-country data, we test some of the predictions of our theoretical analysis

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