Reforms, Development and Persistence of Gender Gap:Recent Evidence from Private School Choice in India

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 13.09.2011, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Sarmistha Pal (University of Surrey)


It is now well established that discrimination against women hinders development. Growth can play a major role in reducing gender gap just as women's empowerment through targeted policy reforms can accelerate growth and development. We argue that growth and women's empowerment may not be sufficient to reduce gender gap, especially when one considers private school enrolment in India's emerging economy. Growth of private schools has been of a recent origin and there is the general consensus that private schools are more efficient than government schools in imparting learning in India. Results based on two rounds of India Human Development Survey suggest that for a given year a girl is less likely to be sent to private schools holding other factors constant and this disadvantage is particularly higher for younger girls in the family. More importantly, irrespective of growth and policy reforms, female disadvantage in private school enrolment appears to have increased over the decade 1993-94 to 2004-05; it is argued that the latter can partly be attributed to the declining rate of return to women's skill (which guides parental investment), especially in the rural sector, over this period.

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