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Who Gets to Look Nice and Who Gets to Play? Effects of Child Gender on Household Expenditure (WP-15-03)

Krzysztof Karbownik and Michal Myck

The researchers examine the relationship between a child’s gender and family expenditures using data from the Polish Household Budget Survey. Having a first-born daughter as compared with a first-born son increases the share of household expenditures related to children’s and adult females’ clothing, but reduces spending on games, toys and hobbies, and kindergarten. These expenditure patterns suggest an as-so-far unexamined role of gender in child development: Parents seem to pay more attention to how girls look, while favoring boys with respect to human capital investment. This could have consequences in adult life and contribute to sustaining gender inequalities.

Krzysztof Karbownik, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Michal Myck, Director, Centre for Economic Analysis, Poland

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