The Indian Ultrasound Paradox

43 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2012

See all articles by Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Daniel Rosenblum

affiliation not provided to SSRN


The liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s made prenatal ultrasound technology affordable and available to a large fraction of the population. As a result, ultrasound use amongst pregnant women rose dramatically in many parts of India. This paper provides evidence on the consequences of the expansion of prenatal ultrasound use on sex-selection. We exploit state-by-cohort variation in ultrasound use in India as a unique quasi-experiment. We find that sex-selective abortion of female fetuses is rising in states with a slow expansion of ultrasound relative to those states with a rapid expansion of ultrasound. Thus, our findings suggest that the recent rapid spread of ultrasound is not causing higher rates of sex-selection in India.

Keywords: ultrasound, sex-selective abortion, India

JEL Classification: J13, J16, O1

Suggested Citation

Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude and Rosenblum, Daniel, The Indian Ultrasound Paradox. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6273, Available at SSRN:

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Daniel Rosenblum

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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