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Son Preference, Sex Selection and the Problem of Missing Women in India


  • Deepankar Basu

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)


This paper empirically tests for two competing explanations of the increasing sex ratio at birth (SRB) in India: hepatitis B and human intervention. Estimating a male- preferring stopping rule with data from three rounds of the National Family Health Survey in India (1992, 1998 and 2005), I find that the probability of a male birth varies significantly across birth parities. Using a novel proxy for hepatitis B in India - tribal status - I also find that hepatitis B has no impact on the probability of male birth. I conclude that human intervention explains the increasing SRB in India. JEL Categories: J1, J7.

Suggested Citation

  • Deepankar Basu, 2009. "Son Preference, Sex Selection and the Problem of Missing Women in India," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2009-06, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2009-06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ming-Jen Lin & Ming-Ching Luoh, 2008. "Can Hepatitis B Mothers Account for the Number of Missing Women? Evidence from Three Million Newborns in Taiwan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2259-2273, December.
    2. Monica Das Gupta, 2005. "Explaining Asia's "Missing Women": A New Look at the Data," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(3), pages 529-535.
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    More about this item


    son preference; sex selective abortion.;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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