The Demand for Sons: Evidence from Divorce, Fertility, and Shotgun Marriage
This paper shows how parental preferences for sons versus daughters affect divorce, child custody, marriage, shotgun marriage when the sex of the child is known before birth, and fertility stopping rules. We document that parents with girls are significantly more likely to be divorced, that divorced fathers are more likely to have custody of their sons, and that women with only girls are substantially more likely to have never been married. Perhaps the most striking evidence comes from the analysis of shotgun marriages. Among those who have an ultrasound test during their pregnancy, mothers carrying a boy are more likely to be married at delivery. When we turn to fertility, we find that in families with at least two children, the probability of having another child is higher for all-girl families than all-boy families. This preference for sons seems to be largely driven by fathers, with men reporting they would rather have a boy by more than a two to one margin. In the final part of the paper, we compare the effects for the U.S. to five developing countries.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Dahl, Gordon B. and Enrico Moretti. “The Demand for Sons.” Review of Economic Studies 75, 4 (October 2008): 1085-1120.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
- Michael Kevane & David I. Levine, 2003.
"Changing Status of Daughters in Indonesia,"
Development and Comp Systems
- Kevane, Michael & Levine, David I., 2003. "Changing Status of Daughters in Indonesia," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt0b52v28f, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Thomas, D., 1995.
"Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter, Parental Resources and Child Height,"
95-01, RAND - Reprint Series.
- Duncan Thomas, 1994. "Like Father, like Son; Like Mother, like Daughter: Parental Resources and Child Height," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 950-988.
- Joshua D. Angrist & William N. Evans, 1996.
"Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size,"
NBER Working Papers
5778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-77, June.
- Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Case, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-563.
- Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1986. "Birth Spacing and Sibling Inequality: Asymmetric Information within the Family," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 55-76, February.
- Becker, Gary S, 1974.
"A Theory of Marriage: Part II,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
- Behrman, Jere R & Pollak, Robert A & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "Do Parents Favor Boys?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 33-54, February.
- Siu Fai Leung, 1991. "A Stochastic Dynamic Analysis of Parental Sex Preferences and Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1063-1088.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10281. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.