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Tariffs, Social Status, and Gender in India

  • Anukriti, S

    ()

    (Boston College)

  • Kumler, Todd J.

    ()

    (Columbia University)

This paper shows that trade policy can have significant intergenerational distributional effects across gender and social strata. We compare women and births in rural Indian districts more or less exposed to tariff cuts. For low socioeconomic status women, tariff cuts increase the likelihood of a female birth and these daughters are less likely to die during infancy and childhood. On the contrary, high-status women are less likely to give birth to girls and their daughters have higher mortality rates when more exposed to tariff declines. Consistent with the fertility-sex ratio trade-off in high son preference societies, fertility increases for low-status women and decreases for high-status women. An exploration of the mechanisms suggests that the labor market returns for low-status women (relative to men) and high-status men (relative to women) have increased in response to trade liberalization. Thus, altered expectations about future returns from daughters relative to sons seem to have caused families to change the sex-composition of and health investments in their children.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7969.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7969
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  1. Krisztina Kis-Katos & Robert Sparrow, 2011. "Child Labor and Trade Liberalization in Indonesia," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(4), pages 722-749.
  2. Juhn, Chinhui & Ujhelyi, Gergely & Villegas-Sanchez, Carolina, 2014. "Men, women, and machines: How trade impacts gender inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 179-193.
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  15. Chakraborty, Tanika, 2012. "Impact of Industrialization on Relative Female Survival: Evidence from Trade Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 6647, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Ming-Jen Lin & Nancy Qian & Jin-Tan Liu, 2008. "More Women Missing, Fewer Girls Dying: The Impact of Abortion on Sex Ratios at Birth and Excess Female Mortality in Taiwan," NBER Working Papers 14541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Anukriti, S, 2014. "The Fertility-Sex Ratio Trade-off: Unintended Consequences of Financial Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 8044, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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