Essays on development: education and intra-household dynamics

Gupta, Sweta (2021) Essays on development: education and intra-household dynamics. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (1MB)


This thesis empirically investigates three questions of key importance to policy making in developing countries such as India.

The first chapter documents the effect of preschools on cognitive skills in rural India. Using a lagged score value added model, the analysis finds that children who attend preschool before starting primary school have a significant premium in cognitive test scores as compared to children who attend primary school without any preschool exposure. On further investigation into the management type of the preschool, I find that this result is driven by those who attended private preschool.

The second chapter studies the intra-household decision-making process in extended households in rural Uttar Pradesh, India. Using a series of public goods games played between pairs of adult household members, the study finds that spouses residing in extended households are less efficient than those in nuclear households. Moreover, the study finds that relationships within extended households are not equally efficient, with the relationship between daughter-in-law and mother-law particularly inefficient. Supplementary evidence suggests inefficiencies arise from fragmented decision-making power, and limited ability of young married women to assert their preferences in extended households.

The final chapter studies the impact of a two-month long female adult literacy programme on a range of female empowerment measures. Set up as a randomized control trial, the programme increases the treated woman’s freedom of movement, such as, going to the shops or calling her natal family without requiring permission. Additionally, the treated woman is more likely to open a personal bank account. An investigation into spillovers reveals that the program has a positive externality on the control woman’s freedom of movement as well. This suggests that while the freedom of movement effects might be a result of increased confidence and a ‘role model’ effect, opening a bank account might be linked directly to becoming literate.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Development
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC1390 Education of special classes of persons > LC2601 Education in developing countries
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2021 09:51
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2021 09:51

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update