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Missing Women: Age and Disease

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  • Siwan Anderson
  • Debraj Ray

Abstract

Relative to developed countries and some parts of the developing world, most notably sub-Saharan Africa, there are far fewer women than men in India and China. It has been argued that as many as a 100 million women could be missing. The possibility of gender bias at birth and the mistreatment of young girls are widely regarded as key explanations. We provide a decomposition of these missing women by age and cause of death. While we do not dispute the existence of severe gender bias at young ages, our computations yield some striking new findings: (1) the vast majority of missing women in India and a significant proportion of those in China are of adult age; (2) as a proportion of the total female population, the number of missing women is largest in sub-Saharan Africa, and the absolute numbers are comparable to those for India and China; (3) almost all the missing women stem from disease-by-disease comparisons and not from the changing composition of disease, as described by the epidemiological transition. Finally, using historical data, we argue that a comparable proportion of women was missing at the start of the 20th century in the United States, just as they are in India, China, and sub-Saharan Africa today. Copyright , Wiley-Blackwell.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 77 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1262-1300

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:77:y:2010:i:4:p:1262-1300

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Cited by:
  1. V. Bhaskar, 2011. "Sex Selection and Gender Balance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 214-44, February.
  2. Hippolyte d'Albis & David de la Croix, 2012. "Missing Daughters, Missing Brides?," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 12028, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  3. Milazzo, Annamaria, 2014. "Son preference, fertility and family structure : evidence from reproductive behavior among Nigerian women," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6869, The World Bank.
  4. Siwan Anderson & Garance Genicot, 2014. "Suicide and Property Rights in India," NBER Working Papers 19978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Flatø, Martin & Kotsadam, Andreas, 2014. "Droughts and Gender Bias in Infant Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa," Memorandum 02/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  6. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran & Viarengo, Martina, 2012. "The Making of Modern America: Migratory Flows in the Age of Mass Migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 9248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Oriana Bandiera & Niklas Buehren & Robin Burgess & Markus Goldstein & Selim Gulesci & Imran Rasul & Munshi Sulaiman, 2014. "Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 50, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  8. Daniel Rosenblum, 2013. "The effect of fertility decisions on excess female mortality in India," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 147-180, January.
  9. Grogan, Louise, 2013. "Household formation rules, fertility and female labour supply: Evidence from post-communist countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 1167-1183.
  10. Suparna Chakraborty, 2014. "Laws, attitudes and financial inclusion of women: A cross-country investigation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 333-353.
  11. Milazzo, Annamaria, 2014. "Why are adult women missing ? son preference and maternal survival in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6802, The World Bank.
  12. Aldashev, Gani & Guirkinger, Catherine, 2012. "Deadly anchor: Gender bias under Russian colonization of Kazakhstan," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 399-422.
  13. Scott Fulford, 2013. "The changing geography of gender in India," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 833, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. Louise Grogan, 2013. "Household Formation Rules, Fertility and Female Labour Supply: Evidence from post-communist countries," Working Papers 1302, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  15. Adamou, Adamos & Drakos, Christina & Iyer, Sriya, 2013. "Missing Women in the United Kingdom," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1306, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  16. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00717385 is not listed on IDEAS

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