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Prenatal sex selection and girls’ well-being? evidence from India

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  • Luojia Hu
  • Analía Schlosser

Abstract

The paper studies the impact of prenatal sex selection on the well-being of girls by analyzing changes in children’s nutritional status and mortality during the years since the diffusion of sex-selective abortion in India. We use the ratio of male to female births in the year and state in which a child was born as a proxy for parental access to prenatal sex-selection. Using repeated cross-sections from a rich survey dataset, we show that high sex ratios at birth reflect the practice of sex-selective abortion. We then exploit the large regional and time variations in the incidence of sex-selective abortion to analyze whether changes in girls’ outcomes relative to boys within states and over time are associated with changes in sex-ratios at birth. We find that an increase in the practice of sex-selective abortion appears to be associated with a reduction in the incidence of malnutrition among girls. The negative association is stronger for girls born in rural households and at higher birth parities. We find no evidence that sex-selective abortion leads to a selection of girls into families of higher SES, however we do find some evidence of a larger reduction in family size for girls relative to boys. We also find some suggestive evidence of better treatment of girls as reflected in breast feeding duration. On the other hand, sex-selective abortion does not appear to be associated with a reduction in excess female child mortality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2010-11.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2010-11

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Keywords: Abortion ; Prenatal care;

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References

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  1. Lin, Ming-Jen & Liu, Jin-Tan & Qian, Nancy, 2008. "More Women Missing, Fewer Girls Dying: The Impact of Abortion on Sex Ratios at Birth and Excess Female Mortality in Taiwan," CEPR Discussion Papers 6667, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Sonia Bhalotra & Tom Cochrane, 2010. "Where have all the young girls gone? Identification of sex selection in India," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/254, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. 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.
  4. Tarozzi, Alessandro, 2008. "Growth reference charts and the nutritional status of Indian children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 455-468, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Farre, Lidia, 2013. "The role of men in the economic and social development of women : implications for gender equality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6323, The World Bank.
  2. Milazzo, Annamaria, 2014. "Why are adult women missing ? son preference and maternal survival in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6802, The World Bank.
  3. Hazan, Moshe & Zoabi, Hosny, 2012. "Sons or Daughters? Endogenous Sex Preferences and the Reversal of the Gender Educational Gap," CEPR Discussion Papers 8885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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