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Evidence for an Incipient Decline in Numbers of Missing Girls in China and India

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  • Monica Das Gupta
  • Woojin Chung
  • Li Shuzhuo

Abstract

The apparently inexorable rise in the proportion of "missing girls" in much of East and South Asia has attracted much attention among researchers and policymakers. An encouraging trend was suggested by the case of South Korea, where child sex ratios (males to females under age 5) were the highest in Asia but peaked in the mid-1990s and normalized thereafter. Using census data, we examine whether similar trends have begun to manifest themselves in the two most populous countries of this region, China and India. The data indicate that child sex ratios are peaking in these countries, and in many subnational regions are beginning to trend toward lower, more normal values. This suggests that, with continuing economic and social development and vigorous public policy efforts to reduce son preference, the "missing girls" phenomenon could eventually disappear in Asia. Copyright (c) 2009 The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Monica Das Gupta & Woojin Chung & Li Shuzhuo, 2009. "Evidence for an Incipient Decline in Numbers of Missing Girls in China and India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(2), pages 401-416.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:35:y:2009:i:2:p:401-416
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Monica Das Gupta & Jiang Zhenghua & Li Bohua & Xie Zhenming & Woojin Chung & Bae Hwa-Ok, 2003. "Why is Son preference so persistent in East and South Asia? a cross-country study of China, India and the Republic of Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 153-187.
    2. Fred Arnold & Sunita Kishor & T. K. Roy, 2002. "Sex-Selective Abortions in India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 759-785.
    3. Ansley Coale & Judith Banister, 1994. "Five decades of missing females in China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(3), pages 459-479, August.
    4. Sinha, Nistha & Yoong, Joanne, 2009. "Long-term financial incentives and investment in daughters : evidence from conditional cash transfers in north India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4860, The World Bank.
    5. Stephan Klasen & Claudia Wink, 2002. "A Turning Point in Gender Bias in Mortality? An Update on the Number of Missing Women," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(2), pages 285-312.
    6. Tim Dyson, 2001. "The Preliminary Demography of the 2001 Census of India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(2), pages 341-356.
    7. Nistha Sinha & Joanne K. Yoong, 2009. "Long-Term Financial Incentives and Investment in Daughters Evidence From Conditional Cash Transfers In North India," Working Papers WR-667, RAND Corporation.
    8. Sinha, Nistha & Yoong, Joanne, 2009. "Long-term financial incentives and investment in daughters : evidence from conditional cash transfers in north India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4860, The World Bank.
    9. Do, Quy-Toan & Phung, Tung Duc, 2006. "Superstition, family planning, and human development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4001, The World Bank.
    10. Jungmin Lee & Myungho Paik, 2006. "Sex preferences and fertility in South Korea during the year of the horse," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(2), pages 269-292, May.
    11. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Charles Yuji Horioka & Akiko Terada-Hagiwara, 2017. "The impact of sex ratios before marriage on household saving in two Asian countries: The competitive saving motive revisited," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 739-757, September.
    2. Quanbao Jiang & Xiaomin Li & Shuzhuo Li & Marcus W. Feldman, 2016. "China’s Marriage Squeeze: A Decomposition into Age and Sex Structure," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(2), pages 793-807, June.
    3. Sun, Ang & Zhao, Yaohui, 2016. "Divorce, abortion, and the child sex ratio: The impact of divorce reform in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 53-69.
    4. Arokiasamy Perianayagam & Srinivas Goli, 2012. "Provisional results of the 2011 Census of India: Slowdown in growth, ascent in literacy, but more missing girls," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(10), pages 785-801, August.
    5. Alexander Stimpfle & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Does Central Europe Import the Missing Women Phenomenon?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    6. repec:pal:eurjdr:v:29:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1057_s41287-017-0107-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Echávarri, Rebeca & Husillos, Javier, 2016. "The Missing Link Between Parents’ Preferences and Daughters’ Survival: The Moderator Effect of Societal Discrimination," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 372-385.
    8. Das Gupta, Monica & Ebenstein, Avraham & Sharygin, Ethan Jennings, 2010. "China's marriage market and upcoming challenges for elderly men," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5351, The World Bank.
    9. Ding, Weili & Zhang, Yuan, 2014. "When a son is born: The impact of fertility patterns on family finance in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 192-208.
    10. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "Gender 'Rebalancing' in China: A Global-Level Analysis," CAMA Working Papers 2012-46, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    11. Charles Yuji Horioka & Akiko Terada-Hagiwara, 2016. "The Impact of Pre-marital Sex Ratios on Household Saving in Two Asian Countries: The Competitive Saving Motive Revisited," ISER Discussion Paper 0975, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    12. Keera Allendorf, 2012. "Like daughter, like son? Fertility decline and the transformation of gender systems in the family," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 27(16), pages 429-454, October.
    13. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "China's Gender Imbalance and its Economic Performance," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 12-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    14. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0668-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Chi Zhou & Xiao Wang & Xu Zhou & Therese Hesketh, 2012. "Son preference and sex-selective abortion in China: informing policy options," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 57(3), pages 459-465, June.
    16. Tien Vu, 2014. "One male offspring preference: evidence from Vietnam using a split-population model," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 689-715, December.
    17. Zhou, Xu Dong & Wang, Xiao Lei & Li, Lu & Hesketh, Therese, 2011. "The very high sex ratio in rural China: Impact on the psychosocial wellbeing of unmarried men," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(9), pages 1422-1427.

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