The Fertility-Sex Ratio Tradeoff: Unintended Consequences of Financial Incentives
AbstractLower fertility can translate into a more male-biased sex ratio if son preference is persistent and technology for sex-selection is easily accessible. This paper investigates whether financial incentives can overcome this trade-off in the context of an Indian scheme, Devirupak, that seeks to decrease both fertility and the sex ratio at birth. First, I construct a model where the effects of incentives are determined by the strength of son preference, the cost of children, and the cost of sex-selection, relative to the size of incentives. Second, I create a woman-year panel dataset from retrospective birth histories and use variation in the composition of pre-existing children as well as the state and the year of program implementation to estimate its causal effect. Devirupak successfully lowers the number of children by 0.9 percent, but mainly through a 1.9 percent decrease in the number of daughters. Faced with a choice between a son and only daughters, couples choose a son despite lower monetary benefits, and thus the sex ratio at birth unintentionally increases. A subsidy worth 10 months of average household consumption expenditure is insufficient to induce parents to give up sons entirely. Instead, Devirupak increases the proportion of one-boy couples by 5 percent. Only the most financially disadvantaged groups exhibit an increase in the proportion of one-girl couples.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 827.
Date of creation: 15 Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA
Web page: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC/
More information through EDIRC
Demographics; fertility; sex ratio; financial incentives; childbearing;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Nistha Sinha & Joanne Yoong, 2009.
"Long-Term Financial Incentives and Investment in Daughters: Evidence From Conditional Cash Transfers In North India,"
667, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
- Sinha, Nistha & Yoong, Joanne, 2009. "Long-term financial incentives and investment in daughters : evidence from conditional cash transfers in north India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4860, The World Bank.
- Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2009.
"Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less Than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India,"
- Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1485-1538.
- Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2009. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less Than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," NBER Working Papers 15041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jayachandran, Seema & Kuziemko, Ilyana, 2009. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less Than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," CEPR Discussion Papers 7321, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Jason Abrevaya, 2009. "Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-34, April.
- Banerjee, Abhijit & Piketty, Thomas, 2004.
"Top Indian Incomes, 1922-2000,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
4632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- V. Bhaskar & Bishnupriya Gupta, 2007. "India's missing girls: biology, customs, and economic development," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 221-238, Summer.
- Bhaskar, V, 2010.
"Sex selection and gender balance,"
22698, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2012. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(2), pages 368-425, June.
- Stopnitzky, Yaniv, 2012. "The Bargaining Power of Missing Women: Evidence from a Sanitation Campaign in India," MPRA Paper 37841, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Das Gupta, Monica & Jiang Zhenghua & Li Bohua & Xie Zhenming & Woojin Chung & Bae Hwa-Ok, 2002.
"Why is son preference so persistent in East and South Asia? a cross-country study of China, India, and the Republic of Korea,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2942, The World Bank.
- Monica Das Gupta & Jiang Zhenghua & Li Bohua & Xie Zhenming & Woojin Chung & Bae Hwa-Ok, 2003. "Why is Son preference so persistent in East and South Asia? a cross-country study of China, India and the Republic of Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 153-187.
- Das Gupta, Monica & Ebenstein, Avraham & Sharygin, Ethan Jennings, 2010. "China's marriage market and upcoming challenges for elderly men," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5351, The World Bank.
- Das Gupta, Monica & Li Shuzhuo, 1999. "Gender bias in China, the Republic of Korea, and India 1920-90 - effects of war, famine, and fertility decline," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2140, The World Bank.
- Hongbin LI & Hui ZHENG, 2009. "Ultrasonography and Sex Ratios in China," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(1), pages 121-137.
- V. Bhaskar, 2011. "Corrigendum: Sex Selection and Gender Balance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 252-53, May.
- Avraham Ebenstein, 2010. "The "Missing Girls" of China and the Unintended Consequences of the One Child Policy," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
- Jean Drèze & Reetika Khera, 2000. "Crime, Gender, and Society in India: Insights from Homicide Data," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(2), pages 335-352.
- Claus C Pörtner, 2010. "Sex Selective Abortions, Fertility and Birth Spacing," Working Papers UWEC-2010-04-R, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2010.
- Scott Fulford, 2013. "The changing geography of gender in India," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 833, Boston College Department of Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.