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Sons as Widowhood Insurance: Evidence from Senegal

  • Sylvie Lambert

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

  • Pauline Rossi

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 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. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2009. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less Than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," NBER Working Papers 15041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Sylvie Lambert & Martin Ravallion & Dominique Van de Walle, 2014. "Intergenerational mobility and interpersonal inequality in an African economy," Post-Print halshs-01109225, HAL.
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  17. van de Walle, Dominique, 2013. "Lasting Welfare Effects of Widowhood in Mali," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 1-19.
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  21. Hoddinott, John, 1992. "Rotten Kids or Manipulative Parents: Are Children Old Age Security in Western Kenya?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(3), pages 545-65, April.
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  23. Milazzo, Annamaria, 2014. "Why are adult women missing ? son preference and maternal survival in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6802, The World Bank.
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