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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 1 No. 2 (April 2009)

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

Article Citation

Abrevaya, Jason. 2009. "Are There Missing Girls in the United States? Evidence from Birth Data." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(2): 1-34.

DOI: 10.1257/app.1.2.1

Abstract

We offer evidence 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. Based upon linked data from California, Asian Indian mothers are found to be significantly more likely to have a terminated pregnancy and to give birth to a boy when they have previously only given birth to girls. The observed boy-birth percentages are consistent with over 2,000 "missing" Chinese and Indian girls in the United States between 1991 and 2004. (JEL J11, J16)

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Authors

Abrevaya, Jason (U TX)

JEL Classifications

J11: Demographic Trends and Forecasts; General Migration
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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