Gender Bias and Intergenerational Educational Mobility: Theory and Evidence from China and India

Office of Alumni and External Relations    2020-11-12

Gender Bias and Intergenerational Educational Mobility: Theory and Evidence from China and India

Guest: Hanchen Jiang, Assistant Professor, University of North Texas

Host: Li Shuwen, Assistant Professor, Antai

Time: Monday, Nov 16th, 2020, 10:00-11:30

Venue: A511, Antai Building, Zoom


We incorporate gender bias against girls in the family, school and labor market in a model of intergenerational educational persistence where parents self-finance children’s education because of credit market imperfections. The model delivers the widely used linear conditional expectation function (CEF) under constant returns and separability, but generates an irrelevance result: parental bias in financial investment does not affect relative mobility. With diminishing returns and complementarity, the CEF can be concave or convex, and parental bias affects both relative and absolute mobility. Using data free of coresidency bias, we test these predictions in India and China. Evidence rejects the linear CEF in rural and urban India in favor of a concave relation. Daughters of fathers with low schooling face lower mobility irrespective of location in India, but the gender gap closes when the father is college educated. In China, the CEF is convex for sons in urban areas, but linear in all other cases. The convexity supports the complementarity hypothesis of Becker et al. (2018) for urban sons, and leads to gender divergence in relative mobility for the children of college educated fathers. In urban China, and urban and rural India, the mechanisms are unfavorable school environment and bias in parental nonfinancial inputs. There is evidence of pure son preference in rural India. The girls in rural China do not face bias in financial investment by parents, but they still face lower mobility when born to uneducated parents. Gender barriers in rural schools seem to be the main constraint.


Dr. Hanchen Jiang is an assistant professor at University of North Texas. Dr. Jiang's research is in the areas of labor economics, urban economics, and development economics. He is interested in these topics: child development, social mobility, housing affordability, migration and urbanization. Dr. Jiang received a Ph.D. in Economics from the Johns Hopkins University in 2020.

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