IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ess/wpaper/id266.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Hepatitis B and the Case of the Missing Women

Author

Listed:
  • Emily Oster

    ()

Abstract

In many Asian countries the ratio of male to female population is higher than in the West -- as high as 1.07 in China and India, and even higher in Pakistan. A number of authors (most notably Sen, 1992) have suggested that this imbalance reflects excess female mortality and, as a result, have argued that as many as 100 million women are "missing". This paper proposes an explanation for some of the observed over-representation of males: the hepatitis B virus. I present new evidence, consistent with an existing scientific literature, that carriers of the hepatitis B virus have offspring sex ratios around 1.50 boys for each girl. This evidence includes both cross-country analyses and a natural experiment based on recent vaccination campagins. Hepatitis B is common in many Asian countries, especially China, where some 10 to 15 per cent of the population is infected. Using data on viral prevalence by country as well as estimates of the effect of hepatitis on sex ratio, I argue that hepatitis B can account for about 45 per cent of the "missing women": around 75 per cent in China, between 20 per cent and 50 per cent in Bangladesh, Egypt, and West Asia, and under 20 per cent in India, Pakistan and Nepal. [A revised version will be published in the Journal of Political Economy (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/home.html), December 2005. ]

Suggested Citation

  • Emily Oster, 2005. "Hepatitis B and the Case of the Missing Women," Working Papers id:266, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:266
    Note: Working Papers
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.esocialsciences.org/Download/repecDownload.aspx?fname=Document127112005280.2685816.pdf&fcategory=Articles&AId=266&fref=repec
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2004. "Women, War, and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Midcentury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Valente, Christine, 2014. "Access to abortion, investments in neonatal health, and sex-selection: Evidence from Nepal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 225-243.
    2. Oster, Emily & Chen, Gang & Yu, Xinsen & Lin, Wenyao, 2010. "Hepatitis B does not explain male-biased sex ratios in China," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 142-144, May.
    3. repec:eee:thpobi:v:92:y:2014:i:c:p:14-21 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Levy, Douglas E. & Meara, Ellen, 2006. "The effect of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement on prenatal smoking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 276-294, March.
    5. Ibragimov, Rustam, 2008. "Heavy-tailedness and threshold sex determination," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(16), pages 2804-2810, November.
    6. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Walton, Michael, 2006. "Inequality of opportunity and economic development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3816, The World Bank.
    7. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 16800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. V. Bhaskar, 2011. "Sex Selection and Gender Balance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 214-244, February.
    9. Chakraborty, Tanika, 2015. "Trade Liberalization in a Traditional Society: Implications for Relative Female Survival," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 158-170.
    10. Nandi, Arindam & Deolalikar, Anil B., 2013. "Does a legal ban on sex-selective abortions improve child sex ratios? Evidence from a policy change in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 216-228.
    11. Das Gupta, Monica, 2008. "Does Hepatitis B infection or son preference explain the bulk of gender imbalance in China ? : a review of the evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4502, The World Bank.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:266. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Padma Prakash). General contact details of provider: http://www.esocialsciences.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.