Son Preference, Fertility Decline and the Future of the Sex Ratio at Birth

41 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2013

See all articles by Surjit S. Bhalla

Surjit S. Bhalla

Oxus Research & Investments

Ravinder Kaur

IIT Delhi, India

Manoj Agrawal

Oxus Research & Investments

Date Written: January 26, 2013

Abstract

This paper analyses the effect of fertility decline on the sex ratio at birth in various regions of the world including the states and provinces of India and China. Two important findings emerge. First, we find that there is no monotonic relationship between sex ratio and fertility decline; rather there is a distinct zig-zag pattern, worsening of the sex ratio when odd (5, 3 and 1) levels of fertility are approached and improvement when the move is towards even (4 and 2) fertility levels. This augurs well for the future of this important gender bias variable – the model forecasts that India will have little sex preference at birth when it reaches the expected fertility level of 2 in 2016. The second major conclusion pertains to the estimate of the proportion of couples practicing sex-selection at birth (the missing girl at birth). This is most often no more than 2 percent of all births, a number considerably smaller than commonly assumed.

Keywords: Sex Ratio, Fertility, Child Mortality, Son Preference, Sex-Selection, Zig-zag, Missing Girls

JEL Classification: J13, J16, I18

Suggested Citation

Bhalla, Surjit S. and Kaur, Ravinder and Agrawal, Manoj, Son Preference, Fertility Decline and the Future of the Sex Ratio at Birth (January 26, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2342286 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2342286

Surjit S. Bhalla

Oxus Research & Investments ( email )

S-160, Panch Shila Park
2nd Floor
New Delhi, 110017
India

Ravinder Kaur (Contact Author)

IIT Delhi, India ( email )

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
New Delhi, 110016
India
+91-11-26591369 (Phone)

Manoj Agrawal

Oxus Research & Investments ( email )

S-160, Panch Shila Park
2nd Floor
New Delhi, 110017
India

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