Female Babies and Risk-Aversion

32 Pages Posted: 1 May 2017

See all articles by Ganna Pogrebna

Ganna Pogrebna

Columbia University

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

David Haig

Harvard University


Being told the sex of your unborn child is a major exogenous 'shock'. In the first study of its kind, we collect before-and-after data from hospital wards. We test for the causal effects of learning child gender upon people's degree of risk-aversion. Using a standard Holt-Laury criterion, the parents of daughters, whether unborn or recently born, are shown to be almost twice as risk-averse as parents of sons. The study demonstrates this in longitudinal ('switching') data and cross-sectional data. The study finds it for fathers and mothers, babies in the womb and recently born children, and for a West European nation and an East European nation.

Keywords: pregnancy, risk attitudes, daughters, child gender, Trivers-Willard hypothesis

JEL Classification: J16, C93, C90, D81

Suggested Citation

Pogrebna, Ganna and Oswald, Andrew J. and Haig, David, Female Babies and Risk-Aversion. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10717. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2960526

Ganna Pogrebna (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

419 Schermerhorn Hall
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.gannapogrebna.com

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
523510 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072

David Haig

Harvard University

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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