How Does a Ban on Sex-Selective Abortions Affect Child Health?

50 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2022

Date Written: April 6, 2022

Abstract

Bans on sex-selective abortions, typically implemented to make sex ratios more equitable, may have adverse welfare consequences on surviving children. Exploiting the intertemporal variation in the implementation of a ban on sex-screening and sex-selection in India, we examine the impact of the ban on postnatal health outcomes. Using the observation that sex-selective abortions are more likely to occur among families with firstborn girls, we study whether the ban on sex-selective abortion worsens the relative health and mortality outcomes for children in firstborn female families. Second, we examine if the gender gap in health outcomes worsens post ban. Our findings indicate worsening of health outcomes along {\it both} these margins. The results operate through two main channels: an increase in fertility in intensively treated families with firstborn girls leading to greater competition among siblings for resources and an increase in the proportion of `unwanted' girls.

Note:
Funding Information: Centre for Social and Behaviour Change (CSBC), Ashoka University.

Conflict of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: sex-selective abortion, missing women, PNDT, ultrasound, legal ban, son preference

JEL Classification: I18; I12; J13; J16; O1

Suggested Citation

Dasgupta, Aparajita and Sharma, Anisha, How Does a Ban on Sex-Selective Abortions Affect Child Health? (April 6, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4129367 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4129367

Aparajita Dasgupta (Contact Author)

Ashoka University ( email )

University Campus, Plot #2,
Rajiv Gandhi Education City
Kundli, Haryana 131028
India

Anisha Sharma

Ashoka University ( email )

University Campus, Plot #2,
Rajiv Gandhi Education City
Kundli, 131028
India

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