IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/16835.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Where there is a will: Fertility behavior and sex bias in large families

Author

Listed:
  • Jain, Tarun

Abstract

Boys and girls in India experience large dierences in survival and health outcomes. For example, the 2001 Census reports that the sex ratio for children under six years of age is 927 girls per thousand boys, an outcome that has been attributed to differences in parents’ behavior towards their sons and daughters. Most studies rely primarily on cultural factors or biases in economic returns to explain these differences. In this paper, I propose an explanation where bequest motives drive fertility behavior that generates sex-based differences in outcomes even when parents do not explicitly prefer boys over girls. In India’s patrilocal rural society, women do not inherit property and heads of joint families aim to retain assets within the family lineage for future generations. I hypothesize that this leads heads to bequeath more land to claimants with more sons, in turn generating a race for sons among adult brothers seeking to maximize their inheritance of agricultural land. I confirm this theoretical prediction using panel data from rural households in India. This strategic fertility behavior implies that girls have systematically more siblings compared to boys, and hence receive smaller shares of household resources, offering an explanation for sex-based dierences in outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Jain, Tarun, 2009. "Where there is a will: Fertility behavior and sex bias in large families," MPRA Paper 16835, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16835
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/16835/1/MPRA_paper_16835.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/25488/2/MPRA_paper_25488.pdf
    File Function: revised version
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2003. "Why Dowries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1385-1398, September.
    2. Mark R. Rosenzweig & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1985. "Specific Experience, Household Structure, and Intergenerational Transfers: Farm Family Land and Labor Arrangements in Developing Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(Supplemen), pages 961-987.
    3. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1485-1538.
    4. Fred Arnold & Sunita Kishor & T. K. Roy, 2002. "Sex-Selective Abortions in India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 759-785.
    5. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2002. "Household Division and Rural Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 839-869.
    6. Bhargava, Alok, 2003. "Family planning, gender differences and infant mortality: evidence from Uttar Pradesh, India," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 225-240, January.
    7. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Selective gender differences in childhood nutrition and immunization in rural India: The role of siblings," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(3), pages 395-418, August.
    8. Gershon Feder & Tongroj Onchan, 1987. "Land Ownership Security and Farm Investment in Thailand," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 69(2), pages 311-320.
    9. Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra, 2003. "Testing for Son Preference in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(3), pages 371-416, September.
    10. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 151-182, July.
    11. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing & Nagarajan, Hari K., 2009. "Determinants and Consequences of Land Sales Market Participation: Panel Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 410-421, February.
    12. Mearns, Robin, 1999. "Access to land in rural India - policy issues and options," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2123, The World Bank.
    13. Prashant Bharadwaj & Leah K. Lakdawala, 2013. "Discrimination Begins in the Womb: Evidence of Sex-Selective Prenatal Investments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(1), pages 71-113.
    14. Das Gupta, Monica, 1999. "Lifeboat ethics versus corporate ethics - social and demographic implications of stem and joint families," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2127, The World Bank.
    15. Edward Kutsoati & Randall Morck, 2014. "Family Ties, Inheritance Rights, and Successful Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Ghana," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume II: Human Capital, pages 215-252 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Silvia Helena Barcellos & Leandro S. Carvalho & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2014. "Child Gender and Parental Investments in India: Are Boys and Girls Treated Differently?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 157-189, January.
    17. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-467, June.
    18. Das Gupta, Monica, 1999. "Lifeboat versus corporate ethic: social and demographic implications of stem and joint families," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 173-184, July.
    19. T. Schultz, 1972. "Retrospective evidence of a decline of fertility and child mortality in Bangladesh," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 9(3), pages 415-430, August.
    20. Daniel Rosenblum, 2013. "The effect of fertility decisions on excess female mortality in India," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 147-180, January.
    21. Klaus Deininger & Aparajita Goyal & Hari Nagarajan, 2013. "Women's Inheritance Rights and Intergenerational Transmission of Resources in India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(1), pages 114-141.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Diva Dhar & Tarun Jain & Seema Jayachandran, 2015. "Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Attitudes: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 21429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:45:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10657-017-9562-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sonia Bhalotra & Abhishek Chakravarty & Dilip Mookherjee & Francisco J. Pino, "undated". "Property Rights and Gender Bias: Evidence from Land Reform in West Bengal," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-281, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Alexander Stimpfle & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Does Central Europe Import the Missing Women Phenomenon?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Lata Gangadharan & Tarun Jain & Pushkar Maitra & Joseph Vecci, 2016. "The behavioural implications of women's empowerment programmes," WIDER Working Paper Series 064, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Strategic bequests. Joint family. Fertility choice. Gender discrimination. Sex ratio.;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16835. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.