Volume 19 - Article 54 | Pages 1831–1850  

How can economic schemes curtail the increasing sex ratio at birth in China?

By Debarun Bhattacharjya, Anant Sudarshan, Shripad Tuljapurkar, Ross Shachter, Marcus Feldman


Fertility decline, driven by the one-child policy, and son preference have contributed to an alarming difference in the number of live male and female births in China. We present a quantitative model where people choose to sex-select because they perceive that married sons are more valuable than married daughters. Due to the predominant patrilocal kinship system in China, daughters-in-law provide valuable emotional and financial support, enhancing the perceived present value of married sons. We argue that inter-generational transfer data will help ascertain the extent to which economic schemes (such as pension plans for families with no sons) can curtail the increasing sex ratio at birth.

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