Maternal Longevity and the Sex of Offspring: Evidence from Pre-Industrial Sweden
Helle et al. (2002) used data from Finnish parish records to study the cost of bearing sons vis-à-vis daughters in terms of postmenopausal longevity and found a large and significant cost associated with sons. In this paper, we replicate and extend their analysis on a larger dataset of pre-modern Swedish women and find no evidence of a negative relative impact of sons. Neither do we find any evidence for the resource competition hypothesis put forth by Van de Putte et al. (2004), despite the relative poverty of our study population. This suggests that the effects found in Helle et al. (2002) were not a general feature of life in pre-modern populations. Finally, we raise some concerns regarding the methodology used and inferences made in previous studies on the topic.
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|Date of creation:||26 Jan 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published as Cesarini, David, Erik Lindqvist and Björn Wallace, 'Maternal Longevity and the Sex of Offspring: Evidence from Pre-Industrial Sweden' in Annals of Human Biology, 2007, pages 535-546.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden|
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