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Are Investments in Daughters Lower When Daughters Move Away?
Evidence from Indonesia

32 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2008  

Michael Kevane

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business - Economics Department

David I. Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Virilocality, marriage, son preference, Asia, Indonesia

Suggested Citation

Kevane, Michael and Levine, David I., Are Investments in Daughters Lower When Daughters Move Away? Evidence from Indonesia. World Development, Vol. 31, No. 6, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1096255

Michael Kevane (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business - Economics Department ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA California 95053
United States

David Ian Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-1697 (Phone)
510-643-1420 (Fax)

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