The Demand for Sons: Evidence from Divorce, Fertility, and Shotgun Marriage
AbstractThis paper shows how parental preferences for sons versus daughters affect divorce, child custody, marriage, shotgun marriage when the sex of the child is known before birth, and fertility stopping rules. We document that parents with girls are significantly more likely to be divorced, that divorced fathers are more likely to have custody of their sons, and that women with only girls are substantially more likely to have never been married. Perhaps the most striking evidence comes from the analysis of shotgun marriages. Among those who have an ultrasound test during their pregnancy, mothers carrying a boy are more likely to be married at delivery. When we turn to fertility, we find that in families with at least two children, the probability of having another child is higher for all-girl families than all-boy families. This preference for sons seems to be largely driven by fathers, with men reporting they would rather have a boy by more than a two to one margin. In the final part of the paper, we compare the effects for the U.S. to five developing countries.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10281.
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Dahl, Gordon B. and Enrico Moretti. “The Demand for Sons.” Review of Economic Studies 75, 4 (October 2008): 1085-1120.
Note: LS CH
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-02-01 (All new papers)
- NEP-LAB-2004-02-01 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-MIC-2004-02-01 (Microeconomics)
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