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Daughters, Dowries, Deliveries:The Effect of Marital Payments on Fertility Choices in India

  • Marco Alfano

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    This paper investigates the effect of the differential pecuniary costs of sons and daughters on fertility decisions. The focus is on dowries in India, which increase the economic returns to sons and decrease the returns to daughters. The paper exploits an exogenous shift in the cost of girls relative to boys arising from a revision in anti-dowry law. The reform is found to have attenuated the widely documented positive correlation between daughters and their parents' fertility. The observed patterns can be explained by a simple model of sequential fertility decisions where the gender composition of children determines future dowry payments.

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    File URL: http://www.cream-migration.org/publ_uploads/CDP_13_14.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 1413.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1413
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    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-26, August.
    2. Seidl, Christian, 1995. "The Desire for a Son Is the Father of Many Daughters: A Sex Ratio Paradox," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 8(2), pages 185-203, May.
    3. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1485-1538.
    4. 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.
    5. Weiren Wang & Felix Famoye, 1997. "Modeling household fertility decisions with generalized Poisson regression," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(3), pages 273-283.
    6. Philip H. Brown, 2009. "Dowry and Intrahousehold Bargaining: Evidence from China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
    7. Do, Quy-Toan & Iyer, Sriya & Joshi, Shareen, 2006. "The economics of consanguineous marriages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4085, The World Bank.
    8. Jean Dreze & Mamta Murthi, 2000. "Fertility, education and development: further evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6663, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
    10. Silvia Helena Barcellos & Leandro Carvalho & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2010. "Child Gender and Parental Investments in India: Are Boys and Girls Treated Differently?," Working Papers 756, RAND Corporation.
    11. Trevon D. Logan & Raj Arunachalam, 2014. "Is There Dowry Inflation in South Asia?," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 81-94, June.
    12. 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 S279-88, Part II, .
    13. Daniel Rosenblum, 2013. "The effect of fertility decisions on excess female mortality in India," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 147-180, January.
    14. Klaus Deininger & Aparajita Goyal & Hari Nagarajan, 2013. "Women's Inheritance Rights and Intergenerational Transmission of Resources in India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(1), pages 114-141.
    15. Wiji Arulampalam & Sonia Bhalotra, 2006. "Sibling death clustering in India: state dependence "versus" unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(4), pages 829-848.
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