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Girls preferred? Changing patterns of gender preferences in the two German states

Listed author(s):
  • Hilke Brockmann

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

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    Parental preferences for the sex of children are a prominent subject of study in some Asian and African countries where sex-selective behavior has led to skewed sex-ratios. In Europe or North-America, by contrast, cross-sectional data does not reveal any clear pattern of sex-preferences. However, this does not mean that people are indifferent to the sex of their children. Taking a longitudinal perspective, this paper shows how sex-preferences in Germany have changed over time and in response to changes in welfare regime. Based on German cohort data, event-history models reveal a significant boy-preference among women born before 1910 during the German Reich. After the world war II, women in West-Germany never developed a clear sex-preference, but cohorts born in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) show a significant preference for girls. This pattern is absorbed by the pro-family policy that was launched by the socialist regime during the seventies. In conclusion, the paper argues that the process of modernization does not neutralize sex-preferences as is often assumed. Rather, it may give rise to diverging sex-preferences depending on the specific type of welfare regime. (AUTHOR)

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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-1999-010.

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    Date of creation: Sep 1999
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-1999-010
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    1. F├╝rnkranz-Prskawetz, Alexia & Hoem, Jan Michael & Neyer, Gerda, 1999. "Third Births in Austria: the Effect of Public Policies, Educational Attainment and Labour-Force Attachment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2162, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    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. Fred Arnold, 1985. "Measuring the effect of sex preference on fertility: The case of Korea," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 22(2), pages 280-288, May.
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