Gender Discrimination and Growth: Theory and Evidence from India

70 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2008

See all articles by Berta Esteve-Volart

Berta Esteve-Volart

York University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2004


Gender inequality is an acute and persistent problem, especially in developing countries. This paper argues that gender discrimination is an inefficient practice. We model gender discrimination as the complete exclusion of females from the labor market or as the exclusion of females from managerial positions. The distortions in the allocation of talent between managerial and unskilled positions, and in human capital investment, are analyzed. It is found that both types of discrimination lower economic growth; and that the former also implies a reduction in per capita GDP, while the latter distorts the allocation of talent. Both types of discrimination imply lower female-to-male schooling ratios. We discuss the sustainability of social norms or stigma that can generate discrimination in the form described in this paper. We present evidence based on panel-data regressions across Indian states over 1961-1991 that is consistent with the model¿s predictions.

Suggested Citation

Esteve-Volart, Berta, Gender Discrimination and Growth: Theory and Evidence from India (January 2004). LSE STICERD Research Paper No. DEDPS42, Available at SSRN:

Berta Esteve-Volart (Contact Author)

York University - Department of Economics ( email )

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