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Prenatal Sex Selection and Girls' Well-Being: Evidence from India

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Author Info

  • Hu, Luojia

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

  • Schlosser, Analia

    ()
    (Tel Aviv University)

Abstract

In this paper, we study 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 prenatal sex determination technologies in India. We further examine various channels through which prenatal sex selection might affect girls’ outcomes. 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 prenatal sex selection 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 prenatal sex selection 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. An examination of the various mechanisms linking between prenatal sex selection and children outcomes suggests that prenatal sex selection does not lead to a selection of girls into better endowed families, but there is some evidence of a larger reduction in family size for girls relative to boys. We also find an increase in girls' breastfeeding duration suggesting an improvement in parental care and treatment. On the other hand, prenatal sex selection does not appear to be associated with a reduction in excess female child mortality, or a reduction in son preference.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5562.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5562

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Related research

Keywords: son preference; prenatal sex selection; ultrasound; sex ratio at birth; gender discrimination; child health;

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  1. Tarozzi, Alessandro, 2008. "Growth reference charts and the nutritional status of Indian children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 455-468, December.
  2. Ming-Jen Lin & Nancy Qian & Jin-Tan Liu, 2008. "More Women Missing, Fewer Girls Dying: The Impact of Abortion on Sex Ratios at Birth and Excess Female Mortality in Taiwan," NBER Working Papers 14541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Siwan Anderson, 2003. "Why Dowry Payments Declined with Modernization in Europe but Are Rising in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(2), pages 269-310, April.
  4. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Cochrane, Tom, 2010. "Where Have All the Young Girls Gone? Identification of Sex Selection in India," IZA Discussion Papers 5381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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