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Testing for Son Preference in South Africa

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  • Gangadharan, L.
  • Maitra, P.

Abstract

Evidence from most developing countries suggest that parents have a preference for sons over daughters. This is know as son preference. This paper uses individual level unit record data to test the son preference hypothesis in South Africa. We use an accelerated hazard model to estimate the duration between successive births and our results indicate that son preference exists only for the Indian community in South Africa. Indian households prefer to have a higher duration between children following the birth of a son, irrespective of the number of children they already have. For the rest of the population, there is either no son preference or in some cases a weak preference for daughters. Our results appear to refute the usual arguments for son preference (including support for elderly parents and contribution to household income) and instead suggest the importance of religious beliefs and social customs (dowry system, lineage, familial and kinship ties etc.) in directing parental preferences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 724.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:724

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Web page: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au
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Keywords: MEN ; WOMEN ; TESTING ; CONSUMPTION ; ECONOMETRICS;

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Cited by:
  1. Lindskog, Annika, 2013. "The effect of siblings’ education on school-entry in the Ethiopian highlands," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 45-68.
  2. Aparna Lhila & Kosali Simon, 2008. "Prenatal health investment decisions: Does the child’s sex matter?," Demography, Springer, vol. 45(4), pages 885-905, November.
  3. Sylvie Lambert & Pauline Rossi, 2014. "Sons as Widowhood Insurance: Evidence from Senegal," PSE Working Papers halshs-00948098, HAL.
  4. van der Stoep, Gabrielle, 2008. "Childbearing and labour force participation in South Africa: sibling composition as an identification strategy?," MPRA Paper 52908, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Tarun Jain, 2014. "Where There Is a Will: Fertility Behavior and Sex Bias in Large Families," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(2), pages 393-423.
  6. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00948098 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Margaret Irving, 2008. "Gender patterns in household health expenditure allocation: A study of South Africa," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2008-32, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Silvia H. Barcellos & Leandro Carvalho & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2012. "Child Gender And Parental Investments In India: Are Boys And Girls Treated Differently?," NBER Working Papers 17781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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