DP6876 Parental Sex Selection and Gender Balance

Author(s): Venkataraman Bhaskar
Publication Date: June 2008
Keyword(s): congestion externality, gender bias, marriage market, sex ratio, sex selection
JEL(s): J12, J13, J16
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6876

We consider a society where parents prefer boys to girls, but also value grandchildren. Parental sex selection results in a biased sex ratio that is socially inefficient, due to a congestion externality in the marriage market. Improvements in selection techniques aggravate the inefficiency. These results are robust to allowing prices in the marriage market, if the market is subject to frictions. We extend the model to consider gender preferences which depend upon family composition, allowing us to examine the possible sex ratio effects of China's one-child policy, and the implications of choice in societies where family balancing considerations are paramount.