Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Demand for Sons

Contents:

Author Info

  • Gordon B. Dahl
  • Enrico Moretti

Abstract

Do parents have preferences over the gender of their children, and if so, does this have negative consequences for daughters versus sons? In this paper, we show that child gender affects the marital status, family structure, and fertility of a significant number of American families. Overall, a first-born daughter is significantly less likely to be living with her father compared to a first-born son. Three factors are important in explaining this gap. First, women with first-born daughters are less likely to marry. Strikingly, we also find evidence that the gender of a child in utero affects shotgun marriages. Among women who have taken an ultrasound test during pregnancy, mothers who have a girl are less likely to be married at delivery than those who have a boy. Second, parents who have first-born girls are significantly more likely to be divorced. Third, after a divorce, fathers are much more likely to obtain custody of sons compared to daughters. These three factors have serious negative income and educational consequences for affected children. What explains these findings? In the last part of the paper, we turn to the relationship between child gender and fertility to help sort out parental gender bias from competing explanations for our findings. We show that the number of children is significantly higher in families with a first-born girl. Our estimates indicate that first-born daughters caused approximately 5500 more births per year, for a total of 220,000 more births over the past 40 years. Taken individually, each piece of empirical evidence is not sufficient to establish the existence of parental gender bias. But taken together, the weight of the evidence supports the notion that parents in the U.S. favour boys over girls. Copyright 2008, Wiley-Blackwell.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2008.00514.x
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 75 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1085-1120

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:4:p:1085-1120

Contact details of provider:

Related research

Keywords:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:4:p:1085-1120. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.