Parental Sex Selection and Gender Balance

39 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2008

See all articles by V. Bhaskar

V. Bhaskar

University College London

Date Written: June 2008


We consider a society where parents prefer boys to girls, but also value grandchildren. Parental sex selection results in a biased sex ratio that is socially inefficient, due to a congestion externality in the marriage market. Improvements in selection techniques aggravate the inefficiency. These results are robust to allowing prices in the marriage market, if the market is subject to frictions. We extend the model to consider gender preferences which depend upon family composition, allowing us to examine the possible sex ratio effects of China's one-child policy, and the implications of choice in societies where family balancing considerations are paramount.

Keywords: congestion externality, gender bias, marriage market, sex ratio, sex selection

JEL Classification: J12, J13, J16

Suggested Citation

Bhaskar, V., Parental Sex Selection and Gender Balance (June 2008). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP6876, Available at SSRN:

V. Bhaskar (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
United Kingdom

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