Son Preference and Children's Housework: The Case of India

Tin chi Lin, Alícia Adserà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

We use a nationally representative survey of Indian households (NFHS-3) to conduct the first study that analyzes whether son preference is associated with girls bearing a larger burden of housework than boys. Housework is a non-negligible part of child labor in which around 60 % of children in our sample are engaged. The preference for male offspring is measured by a mother's ideal proportion of sons among her offspring. We show that when the ideal proportion increases from 0 to 1, the gap in the time spent on weekly housework for an average girl compared to that of a boy increases by 2.5 h. We conduct several robustness analyses. First, we estimate the main model separately by caste, religion, and family size. Second, we use a two-stage model to look at participation into housework (as well as other types of work) in addition to hours. Third, we use mother's fertility intentions as an alternative measure of son preference. The analysis confirms that stated differences in male preference translate in de facto differences in girl's treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-584
Number of pages32
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Keywords

  • Child labor
  • Housework
  • India
  • National Family Health Survey
  • Son preference

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