This paper attempts to measure the extent of inequality within households and its contribution to overall levels of inequality in child well-being. The paper analyses the distribution of resources (outcomes) between girls and boys for four indicators: nutrition, birth registration, school attendance, and time spent doing work and chores (working hours), with data obtained from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. It assesses total inequality and its within-household component for two periods for each of the 20 developing countries in the sample. An L-Theil index is used to measure the extent of inequality and break it down into between-household and within-household components. Overall inequality tends to be higher in nutrition (stunting) and working hours and relatively lower in school attendance, where average outcomes tend to be higher. Nevertheless, the share of gender inequality that occurs within households is largest for this last indicator, accounting for more than half of the total inequality. Intra-household inequality is an issue in countries even when, on average, there is progress towards child wellbeing. Across the four indicators of child well-being, intra-household inequalities can represent a significant proportion of total inequality. They range from a minimum of 9 per cent for working hours, and can go up to 63 per cent for school attendance, on average, but with great variability across countries.
Rodriguez Takeuchi, L. Intra-Household Inequalities in Child Rights and Well-Being: A Barrier to Progress? UNU-WIDER, Helsinki, Finland (2015) 48 pp. [WIDER Working Paper No. 2015/012]