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Mother-In-Law and Son Preference in India

  • Marie-Claire Robitaille

    (University of Nottingham Ningbo China)

  • Ishita Chatterjee

    (Business School, University of Western Australia)

In India, the mother-in-law is all powerful. At least they are often portrayed as such in Indian popular culture. Similarly, in the socio-economic literature, the influence of the Indian mother-in-law is often taken for granted. However, most of the empirical evidence relies on qualitative data or on small samples. Looking at stated son preference and using a nationally representative dataset (NFHS-3), we show that, indeed, mothers-in-law have an influence on their daughter-in-law, everything else constant. This influence comes mostly from socialization rather than from coercion and selection within the marriage market.

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Paper provided by The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion / Working Papers with number 13-04.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:13-04
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  1. Monica Das Gupta & Jiang Zhenghua & Li Bohua & Xie Zhenming & Woojin Chung & Bae Hwa-Ok, 2003. "Why is Son preference so persistent in East and South Asia? a cross-country study of China, India and the Republic of Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 153-187.
  2. Rohini Pande & Nan Astone, 2007. "Explaining son preference in rural India: the independent role of structural versus individual factors," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-29, February.
  3. Sylvestre Gaudin, 2011. "Son Preference in Indian Families: Absolute Versus Relative Wealth Effects," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 343-370, February.
  4. Shelah Bloom & David Wypij & Monica Gupta, 2001. "Dimensions of women’s autonomy and the influence on maternal health care utilization in a north indian city," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 67-78, February.
  5. Rao, Vijayendra, 1997. "Wife-beating in rural South India: A qualitative and econometric analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(8), pages 1169-1180, April.
  6. Alfonso Miranda & Sophia Rabe-Hesketh, 2006. "Maximum likelihood estimation of endogenous switching and sample selection models for binary, ordinal, and count variables," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(3), pages 285-308, September.
  7. Puri, Sunita & Adams, Vincanne & Ivey, Susan & Nachtigall, Robert D., 2011. ""There is such a thing as too many daughters, but not too many sons": A qualitative study of son preference and fetal sex selection among Indian immigrants in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(7), pages 1169-1176, April.
  8. Jason Abrevaya, 2009. "Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-34, April.
  9. David Roodman, 2009. "Estimating Fully Observed Recursive Mixed-Process Models with cmp," Working Papers 168, Center for Global Development.
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