Abstract

Previous studies find that human capital investments in boys are less income elastic than investments in girls, attributing this result to favoritism toward boys. I show theoretically that it is plausible for more productive or favored household members to have higher income elasticities. I then investigate this question empirically, utilizing panel data on individual nutrient intake from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) to analyze how changes in household per-capita nutrient intake affect the intra-household allocation of nutrients. To deal with potential biases due to omitted variables and simultaneity, I use measures of rainfall variation as instruments. I find that nutritional intakes are more elastic for males (especially prime-age men) than for females, and significantly less elastic for the elderly.