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Girls and Boys: Economic Crisis, Fertility, and Birth Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Lee, Soohyung

    () (Sogang University)

  • Orsini, Chiara

    () (London School of Economics)

Abstract

We investigate the impact of an economic downturn on natality and birthweight for newborns when parents prefer sons. We examine South Korea, unexpectedly hit by the Asian financial crisis in 1997. For identification, we exploit regional and time variation in the crisis, focusing on women who were already pregnant when the downturn began. We find that the number of girls would have been 2 percent higher absent the crisis and that birth outcomes for girls were no better than those for boys, findings that differ from the Trivers-Willard Hypothesis. This relative disadvantage of girls is more severe among newborns who have at least two older siblings.

Suggested Citation

  • Lee, Soohyung & Orsini, Chiara, 2018. "Girls and Boys: Economic Crisis, Fertility, and Birth Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 11531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11531
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    Keywords

    fertility; birth outcomes; economic crisis; sex ratio; Trivers-Willard Hypothesis; scarring;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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