Sons as Widowhood Insurance: Evidence from Senegal
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 exposed to the risk of widowhood intensify their fertility until they get a son. Insurance through sons entails substantial health costs : short birth spacing raises maternal and infant mortality rates.
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