A Multinomial Model of Fertility Choice and Offspring Sex-Ratios in India

Rubiana M Chamarbagwala, Indiana University, Bloomington
Martin Ranger, Bonn University

In countries with a cultural preference for sons, fertility decline may deteriorate already imbalanced sex-ratios. We use the fertility histories of over 90,000 Indian women to investigate the relationship between fertility choices and offspring sex-ratios in India. Our analysis reveals three main findings. First, within-family-size differences show that for the majority of the population parental education reduces anti-female bias in survival in large families but plays no role in small families. Second, between-family-size differences indicate an `intensification' effect, whereby small families have dramatically lower offspring sex-ratios than large families. Third, while maternal education and urban residence weaken the intensification effect, paternal education, a higher standard of living, and land ownership strengthen it. Our results suggest that fertility decline, together with economic growth, may worsen India's already imbalanced sex-ratios, pointing to the need fertility control policies to be supplemented with programs that counter offspring sex-selection in favor of sons.

  See paper

Presented in Session 16: Sex Ratios in Asia