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Partnership Status and the Human Sex Ratio at Birth

Listed author(s):
  • Karen Norberg

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

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10920.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
Publication status: published as K. Norberg, 2004. "Partnership status and the human sex ratio at birth," Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 271(1555), pages 2403-2410.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10920
Note: CH
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