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Partnership Status and the Human Sex Ratio at Birth

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  • Karen Norberg

Abstract

If two-parent care has different consequences for the reproductive success of sons and daughters, then natural selection may favor adjustment of the sex ratio at birth according to circumstances that forecast later family structure. In humans, this partnership status hypothesis predicts fewer sons among extra-pair conceptions, but the rival "attractiveness" hypothesis predicts more sons among extra-pair conceptions, and the "fixed phenotype" hypothesis predicts a constant probability of having a son, regardless of partnership status. In a sample of 86,436 human births pooled from five US population-based surveys, I find 51.5% male births reported by respondents who were living with a spouse or partner before the child's conception or birth, and 49.9% male births reported by respondents who were not (X2=16.77, d.f. = 1, p

Suggested Citation

  • Karen Norberg, 2004. "Partnership Status and the Human Sex Ratio at Birth," NBER Working Papers 10920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10920
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    Cited by:

    1. Lin, Ming-Jen & Liu, Jin-Tan & Qian, Nancy, 2008. "More Women Missing, Fewer Girls Dying: The Impact of Abortion on Sex Ratios at Birth and Excess Female Mortality in Taiwan," CEPR Discussion Papers 6667, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Sanders, Nicholas J. & Stoecker, Charles, 2015. "Where have all the young men gone? Using sex ratios to measure fetal death rates," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 30-45.
    3. Karen Norberg & Juan Pantano, 2016. "Cesarean sections and subsequent fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 5-37, January.
    4. Mu, Ren & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Why does the Great Chinese Famine affect the male and female survivors differently? Mortality selection versus son preference," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 92-105, January.
    5. Avraham Ebenstein, 2011. "Estimating a Dynamic Model of Sex Selection in China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(2), pages 783-811, May.
    6. Valente, Christine, 2015. "Civil conflict, gender-specific fetal loss, and selection: A new test of the Trivers–Willard hypothesis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 31-50.
    7. Krzysztof Karbownik & Anthony Wray, 2016. "Long-run Consequences of Exposure to Natural Disasters," CESifo Working Paper Series 6196, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang, 2007. "Long-Term Effects Of The 1959-1961 China Famine: Mainland China and Hong Kong," NBER Working Papers 13384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Tanika Chakraborty & Sukkoo Kim, 2010. "Kinship institutions and sex ratios in India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(4), pages 989-1012, November.
    10. 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).
    11. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang, 2010. "Long-Term Effects of Early-Life Development: Evidence from the 1959 to 1961 China Famine," NBER Chapters,in: The Economic Consequences of Demographic Change in East Asia, NBER-EASE Volume 19, pages 321-345 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285.
    13. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Maternal Fasting During Pregnancy," NBER Working Papers 14428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Yong Yoon, 2006. "Gender Imbalance: The Male/Female Sex Ratio Determination," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 253-268, December.
    15. Choi, Hyung-Jai & Joesch, Jutta M. & Lundberg, Shelly, 2008. "Sons, daughters, wives, and the labour market outcomes of West German men," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 795-811, October.
    16. Emily Oster, 2005. "Hepatitis B and the Case of the Missing Women," CID Working Papers 7, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    17. Brenoe, Anne Ardila & Lundberg, Shelly, 2016. "Gender Gaps in the Effects of Childhood Family Environment: Do They Persist into Adulthood?," IZA Discussion Papers 10313, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Amar Hamoudi, 2010. "Exploring the Causal Machinery behind Sex Ratios at Birth: Does Hepatitis B Play a Role?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(1), pages 1-21, October.
    19. Choi, Hyung-Jai & Joesch, Jutta M. & Lundberg, Shelly, 2005. "Work and Family: Marriage, Children, Child Gender and the Work Hours and Earnings of West German Men," IZA Discussion Papers 1761, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Karen Norberg & Juan Pantano, 2016. "Cesarean sections and subsequent fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 5-37, January.
    21. Donald Cox, 2007. "Biological Basics and the Economics of the Family," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 91-108, Spring.
    22. Chakraborty, Tanika, 2015. "Trade Liberalization in a Traditional Society: Implications for Relative Female Survival," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 158-170.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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