Center for International and Development Economics Research
Are Investments in Daughters Lower When Daughters Move Away?
- Author(s): Kevane, Michael
- Levine, David I.
- et al.
In much of the developing world daughters receive lower education and other investments than do their brothers, and may even be so devalued as to suffer differential mortality. Daughter disadvantage may be due in part to social norms that prescribe that daughters move away from their natal family upon marriage, a practice known as virilocality. We evaluate the effects of virilocality on female disadvantage using data from the Indonesia Family Life Survey. We find little support for the hypothesis. There is no evidence that the overall pattern of rough equality in the treatment of boys and girls in Indonesia masks differences according to post-marital residential practice. Virilocal groups do not have "missing daughters." Nor is there other evidence of son preference, such as in relatively low height for- age or education for girls and women in virilocal areas. Explanations of daughter disadvantage as due to virilocality should be subject to further scrutiny and contextualization.