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Caste, Kinship and Sex Ratios in India

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  • Tanika Chakraborty
  • Sukkoo Kim
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    Abstract

    This paper explores the relationship between kinship institutions and sex ratios in India at the turn of the twentieth century. Since kinship rules varied by caste, language, religion and region, we construct sex-ratios by these categories at the district-level using data from the 1901 Census of India for Punjab (North), Bengal (East) and Madras (South). We find that the female to male sex ratio varied inversely by caste-rank, rose as one moved from the North to the East and then to the South, was lower for Hindus than Muslims, and was lower for the northern Indo-Aryan rather than the southern Dravidian speaking peoples. We also find that the female deficit was greater in wheat growing regions and in areas with higher rainfall and alluvial soil. We argue that these systematic patterns in the data are largely explained by variations in the institution of family, kinship and inheritance.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13828.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13828

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    1. Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
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    8. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    9. Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Does Female Income Share Influence Household Expenditures? Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Shilpi Kapur & Sukkoo Kim, 2006. "British Colonial Institutions and Economic Development in India," NBER Working Papers 12613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-6, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    13. Qian, Nancy, 2006. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," CEPR Discussion Papers 5986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Douglass C North & John Joseph Wallis & Barry R. Weingast, 2006. "A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History," NBER Working Papers 12795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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