Tamil Nadu and the Diagonal Divide in Sex Ratios

31 Pages Posted: 6 May 2008 Last revised: 26 May 2008

See all articles by Sharada Srinivasan

Sharada Srinivasan

University of Guelph

Arjun S. Bedi

Erasmus University Rotterdam - International Institute of Social Studies; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Between 1961 and 2001, India's 0-6 sex ratio has steadily declined. Despite evidence to the contrary, there is a tendency to characterize this ratio in terms of a diagonal divide with low 0-6 sex ratios in northern and western India and for the most part, normal 0-6 sex ratios in eastern and southern India. While unexpectedly high rates of female infant mortality have been reported in Tamil Nadu, it is still regarded as lying outside the ambit of states with unusually low 0-6 sex ratios. Based on an analysis of temporal and spatial patterns in sex ratio at birth, infant mortality rates and under 5 mortality rates for Tamil Nadu, this paper traces the development of daughter deficit in the state and examines the validity of the diagonal divide in sex ratios across India. We find evidence of daughter deficit in more than half the state's districts with a majority of the shortfall arising before birth, potentially due to sex selective abortion as compared to after birth due to female infanticide. The evidence presented here, combined with earlier work on declining 0-6 sex ratios outside north-western India, suggests that the diagonal divide is no longer an appropriate distinction.

Keywords: Infant mortality, sex ratio at birth, Tamil Nadu

JEL Classification: I12

Suggested Citation

Srinivasan, Sharada and Bedi, Arjun S., Tamil Nadu and the Diagonal Divide in Sex Ratios. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1128304 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1128304

Sharada Srinivasan

University of Guelph ( email )

Guelph, Ontario
Canada

Arjun S. Bedi (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam - International Institute of Social Studies ( email )

PO Box 29776
2502 LT The Hague, 2518 AX
Netherlands
+31 70 426 0493 (Phone)
+31 70 426 0799 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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