Children's Gender and Men's Income: Evidence from Iran

Hossein Abbasi and Seyed Karimi , Working Paper , November 2015.

In many societies, men work for more hours and acquire higher wages if they have sons versus daughters. Gender bias, higher returns to male children’s human capital, and higher costs of raising male children are hypothesized to explain this behavior; among these, gender bias has received stronger support from empirical studies. Using a four-year panel dataset, we show that a different institutional setting may make men respond to their children’s gender differently. We study men’s income in a dotal society, Iran, where families were expected to provide dowry for their marrying daughters. We show that, in contrast to the findings in developed countries, Iranian men earn more income when they have daughters versus sons, and we argue that the institution of marriage is the major reason for this unconventional result.

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