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Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data

43 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2005 Last revised: 13 Dec 2013

Jason Abrevaya

University of Texas at Austin

Date Written: February 2008

Abstract

Gender selection, manifested by unusually high percentages of male births, has spread in parts of Asia since the introduction of ultrasound technology. This paper provides the first empirical evidence consistent with the occurrence of gender selection within the United States. Analysis of comprehensive birth data shows unusually high boy-birth percentages after 1980 among later children (most notably third and fourth children) born to Chinese and Asian Indian mothers. Moreover, using maternally linked data from California, Asian Indian mothers are found to be significantly more likely both to have a terminated pregnancy and to give birth to a son when they have previously only given birth to girls.

Keywords: Gender selection, gender preference

JEL Classification: J13, J16

Suggested Citation

Abrevaya , Jason, Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data (February 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=824266 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.824266

Jason Abrevaya (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

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