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Missing Women in the United Kingdom


  • Adamou, Adamos
  • Drakos, Christina
  • Iyer, Sriya


This paper investigates the gender-selection decisions of immigrants in the United Kingdom, using data from the 1971-2006 General Household Survey. We examine sex-selective abortion in the UK among immigrant families and the gender composition of previous births, conditional on socio-economic characteristics. Our key result is that immigrants balance their family after the birth of two sons, by having a daughter thereafter. Our study also is the first to estimate the number of missing women among Asian immigrants in a European country, contributing to research on the US and Canada that missing women are also a phenomenon of the developed world.

Suggested Citation

  • Adamou, Adamos & Drakos, Christina & Iyer, Sriya, 2013. "Missing Women in the United Kingdom," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1306, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1306

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2001. "Fertility and Social Interaction: An Economic Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199244591.
    2. 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.
    3. Borooah, Vani & Do, Quy-Toan & Iyer, Sriya & Joshi, Shareen, 2009. "Missing women and India's religious demography," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5096, The World Bank.
    4. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2015. "Maternity leave and children’s cognitive and behavioral development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 373-391, April.
    5. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285.
    6. Jason Abrevaya, 2009. "Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-34, April.
    7. Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 1998. "Discrimination and detailed decomposition in a logit model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 115-120, October.
    8. Borooah, V. & Iyer, S., 2004. "‘Religion and Fertility in India: The role of son preference and daughter aversion’," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0436, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. Siwan Anderson & Debraj Ray, 2010. "Missing Women: Age and Disease," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1262-1300.
    10. Woojin Chung & Monica Das Gupta, 2007. "The Decline of Son Preference in South Korea: The Roles of Development and Public Policy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(4), pages 757-783.
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    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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