IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marie-Claire Robitaille & Ishita Chatterjee, 2013. "Mother-In-Law and Son Preference in India," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 13-04, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:13-04

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    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;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 26(1), pages 1-29, February.
    3. 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;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(1), pages 67-78, February.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. David Roodman, 2009. "Estimating Fully Observed Recursive Mixed-Process Models with cmp," Working Papers 168, Center for Global Development.
    9. Sylvestre Gaudin, 2011. "Son Preference in Indian Families: Absolute Versus Relative Wealth Effects," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(1), pages 343-370, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Tsun Se Cheong & Yanrui Wu, 2013. "Globalization and Regional Inequality," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 13-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    2. Peter E Robertson & Longfeng Ye, 2013. "On the Existence of a Middle Income Trap," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 13-12, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:uwa:wpaper:13-04. 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: (Verity Chia). General contact details of provider: .

    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.