Parents, Children, Gender, and Household Allocation: The View from History

Trevon D Logan, Ohio State University

Children of different genders had different earnings in the labor market and played different roles in old age support in the past. It is not known, however, if intrahousehold allocation took such differentials into account, where children on one gender would be favored over another. I use the 1888 Cost of Living Survey to estimate the earnings profiles of boys and girls, and to test for resource allocation differences by gender in nineteenth century industrial households. Despite different earnings profiles for boys and girls, neither American nor European households exhibited gender bias in the allocation of resources to children. Furthermore, I find that the resource allocation in the household was efficient. Using the efficiency and the lack of gender discrimination results, I estimate that European boys were twice as likely as European girls to leave the household, and American boys were 25% more prone to leave home than American girls.

  See paper

Presented in Session 59: Family Patterns in Historical Perspective