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Does a legal ban on sex-selective abortions improve child sex ratios? Evidence from a policy change in India

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  • Nandi, Arindam
  • Deolalikar, Anil B.

Abstract

Despite strong recent economic growth, gender inequality remains a major concern for India. This paper examines the effectiveness of a public policy geared towards the reduction of gender inequality. The national Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Techniques (PNDT) Act of 1994, implemented in 1996, banned sex-selective abortions in India. Although demographers frequently mention the futility of the Act, we are among the first to evaluate the law using a treatment-effect analysis framework. Using village and town level longitudinal data from the 1991 and 2001 censuses, we find a significantly positive impact of the PNDT Act on female-to-male child sex ratio. Given the almost ubiquitous decline in the observed child sex ratio during this period, we argue that the law was successful in preventing any further worsening of the gender imbalance. We find that a possible absence of the law would have led to at least 106,000 fewer female children.

Suggested Citation

  • Nandi, Arindam & Deolalikar, Anil B., 2013. "Does a legal ban on sex-selective abortions improve child sex ratios? Evidence from a policy change in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 216-228.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:103:y:2013:i:c:p:216-228
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2013.02.007
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    Cited by:

    1. Libois, François & Somville, Vincent, 2018. "Fertility, household size and poverty in Nepal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 311-322.
    2. S Anukriti & Sonia Bhalotra & Eddy H F Tam, 2022. "On the Quantity and Quality of Girls: Fertility, Parental Investments and Mortality [Are there missing girls in the United States? Evidence from birth data]," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(641), pages 1-36.
    3. Godlonton, Susan & Okeke, Edward N., 2016. "Does a ban on informal health providers save lives? Evidence from Malawi," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 112-132.
    4. Nandi Arindam & Kalantry Sital & Citro Brian, 2015. "Sex-selective Abortion Bans are Not Associated with Changes in Sex Ratios at Birth among Asian Populations in Illinois and Pennsylvania," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(1), pages 41-64, January.
    5. Anukriti, S & Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Tam, Hiu, 2016. "On the Quantity and Quality of Girls: New Evidence on Abortion, Fertility, and Parental Investments," IZA Discussion Papers 10271, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Bhalotra, Sonia & Clots-Figueras, Irma & Iyer, Lakshmi, 2021. "Religion and abortion: The role of politician identity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    7. Kishore, Avinash & Chakrabarti, Suman, 2015. "Is more inclusive more effective? The ‘New Style’ public distribution system in India," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 117-130.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sex selective abortion; Pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostics techniques; India; Missing women; PNDT;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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