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Sons as Widowhood Insurance: Evidence from Senegal

  • Sylvie Lambert

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)

  • Pauline Rossi

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics, CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique)

Exploiting original data from a Senegalese household survey, we provide evidence that fertility choices are partly driven by women's needs for widowhood insurance. We use a duration model of birth intervals to show that women most at risk in case of widowhood intensify their fertility, shortening birth spacing, until they get a son. Insurance through sons might entail substantial health costs since short birth spacing raises maternal and infant mortality rates.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00948098.

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Date of creation: Oct 2015
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00948098
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  1. Milazzo, Annamaria, 2014. "Why are adult women missing ? son preference and maternal survival in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6802, The World Bank.
  2. van de Walle, Dominique, 2011. "Lasting welfare effects of widowhood in a poor country," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5734, The World Bank.
  3. Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra, 2003. "Testing for Son Preference in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(3), pages 371-416, September.
  4. Wen-Jen Tsay & C. Y. Cyrus Chu, 2005. "The pattern of birth spacing during Taiwan's demographic transition," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 323-336, 06.
  5. Milazzo, Annamaria, 2014. "Son preference, fertility and family structure : evidence from reproductive behavior among Nigerian women," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6869, The World Bank.
  6. 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.
  7. Deepankar Basu & Robert Jong, 2010. "Son targeting fertility behavior: Some consequences and determinants," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 521-536, May.
  8. DaVanzo, J. & Rahman, M., 1993. "Gender Preference and Birthspacing in Matlab, Bangladesh," Papers 93-04, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  9. Pong, S.L., 1994. "Sex Preference and Fertility in Peninsular Malaysia," Papers 94-13, RAND - Reprint Series.
  10. Siu Fai Leung, 1991. "A Stochastic Dynamic Analysis of Parental Sex Preferences and Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1063-1088.
  11. Jakiela, Pamela & Ozier, Owen, 2012. "Does Africa need a rotten Kin Theorem ? experimental evidence from village economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6085, The World Bank.
  12. Mizanur Rahman & Julie DaVanzo, 1993. "Gender preference and birth spacing in matlab, Bangladesh," Demography, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 315-332, August.
  13. Horrell, S. & Krishnan, P., 2006. "Poverty and Productivity in Female-Headed Households in Zimbabwe," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0663, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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