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Is there an early gender gap in Ghanaian children development? Evidence from 3-4 years old boys and girls

Bago, Jean-Louis and Souratié, Wamadini M. and Ouédraogo, Ernest and Lompo, Miaba Louise and Ouédraogo, Moussa and Perreault, Nicolas (2019): Is there an early gender gap in Ghanaian children development? Evidence from 3-4 years old boys and girls.

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Abstract

Using data from the 2011 round of the Ghana Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), we investigate the presence of an early gender gap in child development among children 3-4-year-old. Based on that survey, we built multidimensional indexes of child development that account for children’s ability to read, count, recognize numbers, interact with peers and others, follow rules and be independent for their health outcomes and for their physical skills. This allowed us to estimate the gender gap while controlling for factors affecting child development. Using this approach, we found overall no evidence of gender difference in children’s child development. One index suggests that being female is associated with higher children development. This result is robust to several specifications and sensitivity tests. We also found that a mother’s education, a father’s involvement and the fact of living in an urban area, all increase child development both for boys and for girls. In terms of policy, these findings indicate that the educational gender gap in Ghana most likely reflects unequal access to schooling opportunities between boys and girls.

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