Jain, Tarun (2009): Where there is a will: Fertility behavior and sex bias in large families.
Download (1475Kb) | Preview
Boys and girls in India experience large dierences in survival and health outcomes. For example, the 2001 Census reports that the sex ratio for children under six years of age is 927 girls per thousand boys, an outcome that has been attributed to differences in parents’ behavior towards their sons and daughters. Most studies rely primarily on cultural factors or biases in economic returns to explain these differences. In this paper, I propose an explanation where bequest motives drive fertility behavior that generates sex-based differences in outcomes even when parents do not explicitly prefer boys over girls. In India’s patrilocal rural society, women do not inherit property and heads of joint families aim to retain assets within the family lineage for future generations. I hypothesize that this leads heads to bequeath more land to claimants with more sons, in turn generating a race for sons among adult brothers seeking to maximize their inheritance of agricultural land. I confirm this theoretical prediction using panel data from rural households in India. This strategic fertility behavior implies that girls have systematically more siblings compared to boys, and hence receive smaller shares of household resources, offering an explanation for sex-based dierences in outcomes.
|Item Type:||MPRA Paper|
|Original Title:||Where there is a will: Fertility behavior and sex bias in large families|
|Keywords:||Strategic bequests. Joint family. Fertility choice. Gender discrimination. Sex ratio.|
|Subjects:||J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J13 - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
H - Public Economics > H3 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents > H31 - Household
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J16 - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
|Depositing User:||Tarun Jain|
|Date Deposited:||18. Aug 2009 00:11|
|Last Modified:||18. Feb 2013 22:24|
Agarwal, B. (1998). A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.
Andersen, C., A. Byskov, M. Fukuda, K. Fukuda, and T. Shimizu (2002). Parental periconceptional smoking and male: Female ratio of newborn infants. The Lancet 359(9315), 1407–1408.
Andersson, R. and S. Bergstrom (1998). Is maternal malnutrition associated with a low sex ratio at birth? Human Biology 70(6), 1101–1106.
Arnold, F., M. Choe, and T. Roy (1998). Son preference, the family-building process and child mortality in India. Population Studies 52, 301–315.
Arnold, F., S. Kishor, and T. Roy (2002). Sex-selective abortions in India. Population and Development Review 28(4), 759–785.
Banerjee, A., P. Gertler, and M. Ghatak (2002). Empowerment and eciency: The economics of agrarian reform. Journal of Political Economy 110(2), 239–280.
Basu, A. (1989). Is discrimination in food really necessary for explaining sex dierentials in childhood mortality? Population Studies 43(2), 193–210.
Basu, D. and R. de Jong (2008). Son preference and gender inequality. Ohio State University Working Paper.
Bernheim, D., A. Schleifer, and L. Summers (1985). The strategic bequest motive. Journal of Political Economy 93, 1045–1076.
Bhargava, A. (2003). Family planning, gender dierences and infant mortality: Evidence from Uttar Pradesh, India. Journal of Econometrics 112(1), 225–240.
Bhat, P. and A. Zavier (2007). Factors influencing the use of prenatal diagnostic techniques and the sex ratio at birth in India. Economic and Political Weekly 42(24), 2292–2303.
Botticini, M. and A. Siow (2003). Why dowries? American Economic Review 93, 1385– 1398.
Caldwell, J., P. Reddy, and P. Caldwell (1984). The determinants of family structure in rural South India. Journal of Marriage and the Family 46(1), 215–229.
Census of India (2001). Provisional Population Totals: India. Delhi: Oce of the Registrar General, India.
Chakraborty, T. and S. Kim (2008). Caste, kinship and sex ratios in India. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 13828.
Chen, M. (2000). Perpetual Mourning: Widowhood in Rural India. Philadelphia PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Chiappori, P. (1992). Collective labor supply and welfare. Journal of Political Economy 100(3), 437–467.
Clark, S. (2000). Son preference and sex composition of children: Evidence from India. Demography 37(1), 95–108.
Das Gupta, M. (1987). Selective discrimination against female children in rural Punjab. Population and Development Review 13(1), 77–100. 36
Das Gupta, M. (1999). Lifeboat versus corporate ethic: Social and demographic implications of stem and joint families. Social Science and Medicine 49, 173–184.
Deaton, A. (1997). The Analysis of Household Surveys: A Microeconometric Approach to Development Policy. Washington DC: World Bank.
Deininger, K., S. Jin, and H. Nagarajan (2007). Determinants and consequences of land sales market participation: Panel evidence from India. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4323.
Dreze, J. and A. Sen (2002). India: Development and participation. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Dugger, C. (2001). Abortions in India spurred by sex test skew the ratio against girls. The New York Times April 22.
Edlund, L. and A. Rahman (2005). Household structure and child outcomes: Nuclear vs. extended families - Evidence from Bangladesh. Working Paper.
Feder, G. and T. Onchan (1987). Land ownership security and farm investment in Thailand. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 69(2), 311–320.
Foster, A. and M. Rosenzweig (2002). Household division and rural economic growth. Review of Economic Studies 69, 839–869.
Foster, A. and M. Rosenzweig (2003). Agricultural development, industrialization and rural inequality. Brown University Working Paper.
Friedberg, L. and S. Stern (2007). Marriage, divorce, and asymmetric information. Working paper.
Gangadharan, L. and P. Maitra (2003). Testing for son preference in South Africa. Journal of African Economies 12(3), 371–416.
George, S. (1997). Female infanticide in Tamil Nadu, India: From recognition back to denial? Reproductive Health Matters 5(10), 124–132.
Gloster, S. and R.Williams (1992). Human sex ratio as it relates to caloric availability. Social Biology 39(3-4), 285–291.
Govt. of India (1998). Household assets and indebtedness of social groups as on 30.6.91, Debt and investment survey, NSS Report No. 432. New Delhi: National Sample Survey Organisation. Available at mospi.nic.in/mospi nsso rept pubn.htm.
Govt. of India (2006). Some aspects of operational land holdings in India, 2002-03, NSS Report No. 492. New Delhi: National Sample Survey Organisation. Available at mospi.nic.in/mospi nsso rept pubn.htm.
Griths, P., Z. Matthews, and A. Hinde (2002). Gender, family, and the nutritional status of children in three culturally contrasting states of India. Social Science and Medicine 55(5), 775–790.
Jayachandran, S. and I. Kuziemko (2009). Why do mothers breastfeed girls less than boys? Evidence and implications for child health in India. NBER Working Paper No. 15041.
Jensen, R. (2003). Equal treatment, unequal outcomes? Generating gender inequality through fertility behavior. Working Paper. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 37
Joshi, S. and N. Sinha (2003). The eect of household partition on childrens work and schooling in rural Bangladesh. Working paper.
Katz, N. (2006). Abortion in India: Selecting by gender. The Washington Post May 20, B09.
Lundberg, S. and R. Pollak (1993). Separate Spheres and the Marriage Market. Journal of Political Economy 101, 988–1010.
Mahajan, A. and A. Tarozzi (2007). Child nutrition and son preference in India during the Nineties. Economic Development and Cultural Change 55(3), 441–486.
Mearns, R. (1999). Access to land in rural India. World Bank Working Paper No. 2123.
Miller, B. (1981). The Endangered Sex: Neglect of Female Children in Rural North India. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press.
Pande, R. (2003). Selective gender dierences in childhood nutrition and immunization in rural India: The role of siblings. Demography 40(3), 395–418.
Rose, E. (1999). Consumption smoothing and excess female mortality in rural India. Review of Economics and Statistics 81(1), 41–49.
Rosenblum, R. (2008). Fertility and child mortality: Unintended consequences of family formation in India. Mimeo, Yale University.
Rosenzweig, M. and T. Schultz (1982). Market opportunities, genetic endowments, and intrafamily resource distribution: Child survival in rural India. American Economic Review 72(4), 803–815.
Rosenzweig, M. and K. Wolpin (1985). Specific experience, household structure, and intergenerational transfers: Farm family land and labor arrangements in developing countries. Quarterly Journal of Economics 100(Supl.), 961–987.
Schultz, T. (1972). Retrospective evidence of a decline of fertility and child mortality in Bangladesh. Demography 9(3), 415–430.
Sen, A. (1990). More than 100 million women are missing. The New York Review of Books 37(20).
Sen, A. and S. Sengupta (1983). Malnutrition of rural children and the sex bias. Economic and Political Weekly 18(19), 855–864.
Singh, K. (2005). Amendments to the Hindu Succession Act: Are they enough to bring about gender equality? Combat Law 3(5).
Srinivas, M. (1976). The Remembered Village. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.
The PROBE Team (1999). Public report on basic education in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Yamaguchi, K. (1989). A formal theory for male-preferring stopping rules of childbearing: Sex differences in birth order and in the number of siblings. Demography 26(3), 451– 465.
Available Versions of this Item
- Where there is a will: Fertility behavior and sex bias in large families. (deposited 18. Aug 2009 00:11) [Currently Displayed]