Mother-father resources and girl-boy health in rural Bangladesh

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
gender and intrahousehold aspects of food policy -- project brief

The brief discusses the growing body of literature [that] suggests that men and women allocate resources under their control in systematically different ways. Studies have examined the effect of women’s income on household expenditure patterns and found that women typically spend a higher proportion of their income on food and health care for children, as well as other goods for general household consumption than do men. Other evidence from developing countries indicates that female income more often has a greater impact than male income on infant and child survival probabilities, preschooler nutrition, and child education. An issue related to intrahousehold allocation is that of gender bias. The brief concludes by stating that several policy implications of this study. First, increasing maternal control over household resources should improve the health of girl children. Second, a higher degree of female command over household wealth may encourage parents in subsequent generations to invest more in daughters. Third, establishment of a formal social security system could reduce bias toward investing more in sons by decreasing elderly parents’ reliance on adult sons.