Development, modernization, and son preference in fertility decisions
AbstractA family preference for sons over daughters may manifest itself in different ways, including higher mortality, worse health status, or lower educational attainment among girls. This study focuses on one measure of son preference in the developing world, namely the likelihood of continued childbearing given the gender composition of existing children in the family. The authors use an unusually large data set, covering 65 countries and approximately 5 million births. The analysis shows that son preference is apparent in many regions of the developing world and is particularly large in South Asia and in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. Modernization does not appear to reduce son preference. For example, in South Asia son preference is larger for women with more education and is increasing over time. The explanation for these patterns appears to be that latent son preference in childbearing is more likely to manifest itself when fertility levels are low. As a result of son preference, girls tend to grow up with significantly more siblings than boys do, which may have implications for their wellbeing if there are quantity-quality trade-offs that result in fewer material and emotional resources allocated to children in larger families.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4716.
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Population Policies; Gender and Development; Gender and Law; Adolescent Health; Primary Education;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Alderman, Harold & DEC, 1994. "Intrahousehold resource allocation : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1255, The World Bank.
- Gunnar Andersson & Karsten Hank & Marit Rønsen & Andres Vikat, 2006. "Gendering family composition: Sex preferences for children and childbearing behavior in the Nordic countries," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 255-267, May.
- Sandra E. Black & Paul G. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2004.
"The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Composition on Children's Education,"
NBER Working Papers
10720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2004. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Composition on Children's Education," IZA Discussion Papers 1269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Eric Jensen & Dennis Ahlburg, 2002. "Family Size, Unwantedness, And Child Health And Health Care Utilisation In Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 38(1), pages 43-59.
- Jean Drèze & Mamta Murthi, 2001. "Fertility, Education, and Development: Evidence from India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(1), pages 33-63.
- Rohini Pande, 2003. "Selective gender differences in childhood nutrition and immunization in rural India: The role of siblings," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 395-418, August.
- Horton, Susan, 1986. "Child nutrition and family size in the Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 161-176, September.
- Pong, S.L., 1994. "Sex Preference and Fertility in Peninsular Malaysia," Papers 94-13, RAND - Reprint Series.
- Wolfe, Barbara L & Behrman, Jere R, 1986. "Child Quantity and Quality in a Developing Country: Family Background, Endogenous Tastes, and Biological Supply Factors," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(4), pages 703-20, July.
- Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fred Arnold, 1985. "Measuring the effect of sex preference on fertility: The case of Korea," Demography, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 280-288, May.
- Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
- Woojin Chung & Monica Das Gupta, 2007. "The Decline of Son Preference in South Korea: The Roles of Development and Public Policy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(4), pages 757-783.
- Husain, Zakir & Dutta, Mousumi & Ghosh, Sriparna, 2011. "Contraceptive use among illiterate women in India: does proximate illiteracy matter?," MPRA Paper 30790, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Fuhua Zhai & Qin Gao, 2010. "Center-Based Care in the Context of One-Child Policy in China: Do Child Gender and Siblings Matter?," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 29(5), pages 745-774, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.