Development, Modernization, and Childbearing: The Role of Family Sex Composition

Posted: 8 Dec 2009

See all articles by Deon Filmer

Deon Filmer

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Jed Friedman

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); World Bank Group

Norbert Schady

World Bank - Development Research Group

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Does the sex composition of existing children in a family affect fertility behavior? An unusually large data set, covering 64 countries and some 5 million births, is used to show that fertility behavior responds to the presence-or absence-of sons in many regions of the developing world. The response to the absence of sons is particularly large in Central Asia and South Asia. Modernization does not appear to reduce this differential response. For example, in South Asia the fertility response to the absence of sons is larger for women with more education and has been increasing over time. The explanation appears to be that a latent demand for sons is more likely to manifest itself when fertility levels are low. As a result of this differential fertility behavior, girls tend to grow up with significantly more siblings than do boys, with potential implications for their well-being when quantity-quality tradeoffs result in fewer material and emotional resources allocated to children in larger families.

Keywords: J16, J13, O15

Suggested Citation

Filmer, Deon and Friedman, Jed Arnold and Schady, Norbert, Development, Modernization, and Childbearing: The Role of Family Sex Composition (2009). The World Bank Economic Review, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 371-398, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1519737 or http://dx.doi.org/lhp009

Deon Filmer (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://go.worldbank.org/MRWPOHRQJ0

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Jed Arnold Friedman

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank Group ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Norbert Schady

World Bank - Development Research Group ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/nschady

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