It's a Boy! Women and Non-Monetary Benefits from a Son in India

28 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2012

See all articles by Laura Zimmermann

Laura Zimmermann

IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Oxford


Son preference is widespread in a number of developing countries. Anecdotal evidence suggests that women may contribute to the persistence of this phenomenon because they derive substantial long-run non-monetary benefits from giving birth to a son in the form of an improvement in their intra-household position. This paper tests this hypothesis in the Indian context. The results suggest that for the most part there is little evidence of substantial female benefits, and any positive impacts of having a son disappear after six months. This implies that the female-specific self-interest in a son is probably much lower than commonly assumed.

Keywords: son preference, non-monetary benefits, bargaining power, intra-household allocation, India

JEL Classification: D13, J12, J13, J16

Suggested Citation

Zimmermann, Laura, It's a Boy! Women and Non-Monetary Benefits from a Son in India. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6847, Available at SSRN:

Laura Zimmermann (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

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