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The changing geography of gender in India

  • Scott Fulford

    (Boston College)

This paper examines the changing distribution of where women and girls live in India at the smallest scale possible: India's nearly 600,000 villages. The village level variation in the proportion female is far larger than the variation across districts. Decomposing the variance, I show that village India is becoming more homogeneous in its preferences for boys even as that preference becomes more pronounced. A consequence is that 70% of girls grow up in villages where they are the distinct minority. Most Indian women move on marriage, yet marriage migration has almost no gender equalizing influence. Further, by linking all villages across censuses, I show that most changes in village infrastructure are not related to changes in child gender. Gaining primary schools and increases in female literacy decrease the proportion of girls. The results suggests that there are no easy policy solutions for addressing the increasing masculinization of Indian society.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 833.

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Date of creation: 30 Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:833
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  1. Christophe Z. Guilmoto & S. Irudaya Rajan, 2001. "Spatial Patterns of Fertility Transition in Indian Districts," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(4), pages 713-738.
  2. Jayachandran, Seema & Kuziemko, Ilyana, 2009. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less Than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," CEPR Discussion Papers 7321, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. S. Anukriti, 2013. "The Fertility-Sex Ratio Tradeoff: Unintended Consequences of Financial Incentives," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 827, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. Christophe Z. Guilmoto, 2009. "The Sex Ratio Transition in Asia," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(3), pages 519-549.
  5. Siwan Anderson & Debraj Ray, 2010. "Missing Women: Age and Disease," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1262-1300.
  6. Archana Patel & Neetu Badhoniya & Manju Mamtani & Hemant Kulkarni, 2013. "Skewed Sex Ratios in India: “Physician, Heal Thyself”," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1129-1134, June.
  7. Anja Sautmann, 2011. "Partner Search and Demographics: The Marriage Squeeze in India," Working Papers 2011-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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