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Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 12
American Economic Association
Cultural Dynamics of Gender Norms
Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM (PDT)
- Chair: Owen Ozier, World Bank
Female First Born and Family Structure in Sub-Saharan Africa
AbstractThis paper documents how the gender of the first child affects family structure in Sub-Saharan Africa. Recent work provides evidence that the first child’s gender impacts family structure in the region. Genicot and Hernandez de Benito (2019) find evidence in rural Tanzania that there are fewer women above 40 with a female first born and that they are also less likely to be remarried. Milazzo (2013) finds that women with a female first born in Nigeria have more children and are more likely to be either divorced or separated, and to end up in a polygynous union. Lambert and VanDeWalle (2016) describe that having a son from a previous union is correlated with lower remarriage rate post-divorce among widows in Senegal. These findings have important consequences for children and women welfare. Using national census and DHS data, we study the impact of the gender of the first child on the likelihood of having an absentee father, the probability of ever been married, remaining married, and remarrying in case of separation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Next, we combine these data with information on ancestral anthropological and cultural practices of the ethnic group to which the woman belongs. This allows us to relate the effect of the gender of the first child to the persistence over time of cultural norms.
Son Preference, Maternal Health and Women’s Survival
AbstractThis paper studies how the gender of the first child can affect women’s health and mortality during the reproductive ages. Previous work for India suggests that, compared to women with first-born sons, women with first-born girls are more likely to be anemic and have lower survival. This is partially because son preference induces these women into fertility behaviors that are medically known to be associated with higher risk of maternal morbidity and mortality (Milazzo, 2018). This paper extends this analysis to 73 additional countries covering over 2.5 million women, facing different intensities of son preference and maternal health conditions. We identify some distinct patterns. First, we find evidence suggesting that lower survival of women with first-born girls is largely found in countries characterized by the co-existence of strong son preference and worse maternal conditions. Second, in these countries women with first-born girls also exhibit higher incidence of anemia. Third, we create a measure of imbalance in sex ratio of women with first-born girls and find that it correlates with a range of socio-economic indicators of adverse outcomes for (and attitudes towards) women in the reproductive ages. These results generally hold even after excluding India. This work aims to shed some light on the economic and cultural determinants of maternal morbidity and mortality and on the wide-ranging consequences of son preference during the reproductive ages.
Do Daughters Change Fathers’ Gender Attitudes?
AbstractWe examine the family of identification strategies that take the gender composition of children as plausibly exogenous. In a simple framework, we show how different variations on the identification strategy would recover different effects reflecting different combinations of underlying parameters. Using all available DHS data, we show that there is variation across regions in the sex ratio of births, making that identification strategy more credible in some regions than in others. Treating the gender of the firstborn child as exogenous, we then show that gender of the firstborn has an effect on fathers' attitudes towards domestic violence where those attitudes are most regressive and the sex ratio appears close to its natural value.
University of Washington
University of Zurich
- Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology
- J1 - Demographic Economics