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Parental Sex Selection and Gender Balance

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  • Bhaskar, Venkataraman

Abstract

We consider a society where parents prefer boys to girls, but also value grandchildren. Parental sex selection results in a biased sex ratio that is socially inefficient, due to a congestion externality in the marriage market. Improvements in selection techniques aggravate the inefficiency. These results are robust to allowing prices in the marriage market, if the market is subject to frictions. We extend the model to consider gender preferences which depend upon family composition, allowing us to examine the possible sex ratio effects of China's one-child policy, and the implications of choice in societies where family balancing considerations are paramount.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6876.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6876

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Keywords: congestion externality; gender bias; marriage market; sex ratio; sex selection;

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  1. Lena Edlund, 1999. "Son Preference, Sex Rations, and Marriage Patterns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1275-1304, December.
  2. Bloch, Francis & Rao, Vijayendra, 2000. "Terror as a bargaining instrument : a case study of dowry violence in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2347, The World Bank.
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  6. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285, August.
  7. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Rubinstein, Ariel & Wolinsky, Asher, 1985. "Equilibrium in a Market with Sequential Bargaining," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1133-50, September.
  9. Junsen Zhang & William Chan, 1999. "Dowry and Wife's Welfare: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 786-808, August.
  10. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
  11. Anderson, K.S., 2001. "Why Dowry Payments Declined With Modernisation in Europe but are Rising in India," Discussion Paper 2001-7, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
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