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Testing for Son Preference in South Africa

  • Lata Gangadharan
  • Pushkar Maitra

Evidence from many developing countries suggests that parents have a preference for sons over daughters. This has been referred to as son preference. This paper uses individual level unit record data to test the son preference hypothesis in South Africa. We use an accelerated hazard model to estimate the duration between successive births and our results indicate that son preference exists only for the Indian community in South Africa. Indian households are observed to have a higher duration between children following the birth of a son, irrespective of the number of children they already have. For the rest of the population, there is very little evidence of son preference. Preference for sons could be the result of a combination of factors including religious beliefs and social customs such as the dowry system, lineage and familial and kinship ties. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in its journal Journal of African Economies.

Volume (Year): 12 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 371-416

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:12:y:2003:i:3:p:371-416
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