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The Dynamics of Son Preference, Technology Diffusion, and Fertility Decline Underlying Distorted Sex Ratios at Birth: A Simulation Approach

Author

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  • Ridhi Kashyap

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
    University of Oxford)

  • Francisco Villavicencio

    (University of Southern Denmark
    Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging)

Abstract

We present a micro-founded simulation model that formalizes the “ready, willing, and able” framework, originally used to explain historical fertility decline, to the practice of prenatal sex selection. The model generates sex ratio at birth (SRB) distortions from the bottom up and attempts to quantify plausible levels, trends, and interactions of son preference, technology diffusion, and fertility decline that underpin SRB trajectories at the macro level. Calibrating our model for South Korea, we show how even as the proportion with a preference for sons was declining, SRB distortions emerged due to rapid diffusion of prenatal sex determination technology combined with small but growing propensities to abort at low birth parities. Simulations reveal that relatively low levels of son preference (about 20 % to 30 % wanting one son) can result in skewed SRB levels if technology diffuses early and steadily, and if fertility falls rapidly to encourage sex-selective abortion at low parities. Model sensitivity analysis highlights how the shape of sex ratio trajectories is particularly sensitive to the timing and speed of prenatal sex-determination technology diffusion. The maximum SRB levels reached in a population are influenced by how the readiness to abort rises as a function of the fertility decline.

Suggested Citation

  • Ridhi Kashyap & Francisco Villavicencio, 2016. "The Dynamics of Son Preference, Technology Diffusion, and Fertility Decline Underlying Distorted Sex Ratios at Birth: A Simulation Approach," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1261-1281, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:53:y:2016:i:5:d:10.1007_s13524-016-0500-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-016-0500-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Sara Tafuro, 2020. "An Economic Framework for Persisting Son Preference: Rethinking the Role of Intergenerational Support," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 39(6), pages 983-1007, December.
    3. Valentina Rotondi & Francesco Billari, 2017. "Mobile Money and School Participation: Evidence from Low Income Countries," Working Papers 109, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    4. Fengqing Chao & Christophe Z Guilmoto & Samir K. C. & Hernando Ombao, 2020. "Probabilistic projection of the sex ratio at birth and missing female births by State and Union Territory in India," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(8), pages 1-17, August.
    5. Martin Kolk & Karim Jebari, 2022. "Sex Selection for Daughters: Demographic Consequences of Female-Biased Sex Ratios," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 41(4), pages 1619-1639, August.
    6. Julia Behrman & Sara Duvisac, 2017. "The relationship between women's paid employment and women's stated son preference in India," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(52), pages 1601-1636.
    7. Abhishek Singh & Ashish Kumar Upadhyay & Kaushalendra Kumar & Ashish Singh & Fiifi Amoako Johnson & Sabu S. Padmadas, 2022. "Spatial heterogeneity in son preference across India’s 640 districts: An application of small-area estimation," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 47(26), pages 793-842.
    8. Ridhi Kashyap & Julia Behrman, 2020. "Gender Discrimination and Excess Female Under-5 Mortality in India: A New Perspective Using Mixed-Sex Twins," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(6), pages 2143-2167, December.
    9. Zhen Zhang & Qiang Li, 2020. "Population aging caused by a rise in the sex ratio at birth," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 43(32), pages 969-992.
    10. Eleanor Jawon Choi & Jisoo Hwang, 2020. "Transition of Son Preference: Evidence From South Korea," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(2), pages 627-652, April.
    11. Anna‐Maria Aksan, 2022. "Son preference and the demographic transition," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 32-56, February.
    12. Nahid Tavassoli, 2021. "The Gender-Biased Fertility Behavior: Evidence from Southeast Asian Countries," Economic Alternatives, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria, issue 2, pages 235-261, July.

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