This article uses conventional Engel curve demand analysis, as well as a double hurdle model, to explore whether there are intrahousehold differentials in the allocation of education expenditure between boys and girls in rural Sri Lanka. Contrary to the case in most developing countries, in Sri Lanka, there was a significant bias favoring girls for 1990–91 and 1995–96 for age group categories 8–9, 14–16, and 17–19, and in 2000 for age group categories 14–16 and 17–19. Significant differences in enrollment favoring girls aged 17–19 explain part of the girl bias observed in 1990–91 and 2000–2001, but most of the bias is driven by positive expenditure given enrollment. The biases favoring girls are observed at critical stages of the schooling career in the run‐up to key national exams. The 8–9 age group captures the run‐up to the year 5 scholarship exams that are used to gain entry to the better‐performing secondary schools. The 14–16 and 17–19 age groups capture those who read for important national‐level qualifications that are vital for the job market. This article also looks at various possible explanations for the bias.
Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics
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