Working Papers

Economic Incentives for Sex-Selective Abortion in India

Daniel Rosenblum

In order to understand the economic incentives behind sex selection in India, I provide the first estimates of the magnitude of the economic benefits of having a son instead of a daughter. I estimate large gains to per capita income and expenditure, household assets, and a reduction in the probability the household is below the poverty line. The observed pattern of incentives are compared to observed patterns in sex selection. Estimates show that sex selection may provide economic advantages through a reduction in total children born and also from an adult son’s labor supply contribution to his parents’ household.

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Paper Keywords

sex-selective abortion, son preference, South Asia, India