Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Gender and Public Spending on Education in Pakistan: A Case Study of Disaggregated Benefit Incidence

It is generally believed that education is one of the basic rights of every human being, irrespective of sex, age, creed, religion, etc. Moreover, the target of universal primary education cannot be achieved without female access to educational opportunities, which contains several external benefits. In addition, access to educational opportunities assumes prime importance for empowerment of women. However, inequalities in access to education between males and females can be found in many countries across the world including Pakistan. According to conventional wisdom, a combination of cultural, social, and economic factors are responsible for placing young girls and women at a serious disadvantage vis-a-vis access to school and the prospect of completing their education. This disadvantage can be altered through public policies including gender sensitive public spending on education. The above assertion about the role of public policy is based on the theory of public finance1, which demonstrates that public expenditure on education can affect the population in a number of ways, which has significant gender dimensions. For example, government spending on primary education is likely to generate more income for women than spending on universities, for the simple reason that there are relatively more women primary school teachers than women university lecturers. Moreover, these expenditures provide subsidized educational services, which is a form of “in kind transfers”. These “in-kind transfers” improve the current well-being of the recipients, and enhance their longer-run income-earning potential. They can be considered as both current and capital transfers to the recipients, and therefore can be termed as the “benefit incidence” of public spending. The main concern of this paper is to assess the gender dimension of the benefitincidence”. The tudy has two basic objectives. First and foremost, it aims to investigate which income group actually benefits from the government’s subsidized

Muhammad Sabir