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Causal effects of sex preference on sex-blind and sex-selective child avoidance and substitution across birth years: Evidence from the Japanese year of the fire horse

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  • Rohlfs, Chris
  • Reed, Alexander
  • Yamada, Hiroyuki

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of a short-term change in preference for male offspring on couples' childbearing and child-avoidance behaviors. We exploit a natural experiment in Japan in which girls born in a specific astrological year are regarded as less desirable. We relate this superstition to an economic model of child avoidance. We measure the relative importance of sex-selective and sex-blind child avoidance responses nationwide and across geographic areas and the degree of substitutability of children across birth years in Japan in 1846, 1906, and 1966, and we examine how these responses interacted with the economic and social development of Japan over this period.

Suggested Citation

  • Rohlfs, Chris & Reed, Alexander & Yamada, Hiroyuki, 2010. "Causal effects of sex preference on sex-blind and sex-selective child avoidance and substitution across birth years: Evidence from the Japanese year of the fire horse," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 82-95, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:92:y:2010:i:1:p:82-95
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 143-162, August.
    2. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1974. "Economics of Postwar Fertility in Japan: Differentials and Trends," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 170-194, Part II, .
    3. Hanley, Susan B., 1983. "A High Standard of Living in Nineteenth-Century Japan: Fact or Fantasy?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 183-192, March.
    4. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-477, June.
    5. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 279-288, Part II, .
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1975:65:2:170-174_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Lee, Jungmin, 2005. "Marriage, female labor supply, and Asian zodiacs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(3), pages 427-432, June.
    8. Masanori Hashimoto, 1974. "Economics of Postwar Fertility in Japan: Differentials and Trends," NBER Chapters,in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 170-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Child Survival in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 803-815, September.
    11. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hiroyuki Yamada, 2013. "Superstition effects versus cohort effects: is it bad luck to be born in the year of the fire horse in Japan?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 259-283, June.
    2. Almond, Douglas & Chee, Christine Pal & Sviatschi, Maria Micaela & Zhong, Nan, 2015. "Auspicious birth dates among Chinese in California," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 153-159.
    3. 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.
    4. Sun, Ang & Zhao, Yaohui, 2014. "Divorce, Abortion and Children's Sex Ratio: The Impact of Divorce Reform in China," IZA Discussion Papers 8230, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Hitoshi Shigeoka, 2015. "School Entry Cutoff Date and the Timing of Births," NBER Working Papers 21402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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