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Differential Fecundity and Gender Biased Parental Investment


  • Aloysius Siow
  • Xiaodong Zhu


Parents invest differently in sons and daughters. This paper formally re-examines the application of the Trivers Willard hypothesis to humans. Differential fecundity and assortive matching in marriage are necessary for parents to invest differently in the skills of their sons and daughters. Unlike the Trivers Willard hypothesis, better endowed parents do not necessarily invest relatively more on the survival of their sons relative to worse endowed parents. Parents invest more on the health of the child that they value higher. They do not necessarily invest more on the skills of the child that they value higher. The theory generates endogenous population growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Aloysius Siow & Xiaodong Zhu, 1998. "Differential Fecundity and Gender Biased Parental Investment," Working Papers siow-99-03, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:siow-99-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. D Holden & J K Swales, 1993. "Factor Subsidies, Employment Generation, and Cost per Job: A Partial Equilibrium Approach," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 25(3), pages 317-338, March.
    2. Bregman, Arie & Fuss, Melvyn & Regev, Haim, 1991. "High tech and productivity: Evidence from Israeli industrial firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1199-1221, August.
    3. Bregman, Arie & Fuss, Melvyn & Regev, Haim, 1995. "The production and cost structure of Israeli industry Evidence from individual firm data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 45-81, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2003. "Why Dowries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1385-1398, September.
    2. Gillian Hamilton & Aloysius Siow, 2007. "Class, Gender and Marriage," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 549-575, October.
    3. Michael Peters & Aloysius Siow, 2002. "Competing Premarital Investments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 592-608, June.
    4. Gillian Hamilton & Aloysius Siow, 1999. "Marriage and Fertility in a Catholic Society: Eighteenth-Century Quebec," Working Papers siow-99-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    5. Sudeshna Maitra, 2006. "Population Growth and Rising Dowries: The Long-Run Mechanism of a Marriage Squeeze," Working Papers 2006_9, York University, Department of Economics.
    6. Aloysius Siow & Xiaodong Zhu, 2002. "Differential Fecundity and Gender-Biased Parental Investments in Health," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 999-1024, October.

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    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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