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War, Marriage Markets, and the Sex Ratio at Birth

Dirk Bethmann and Michael Kvasnicka

Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2014, vol. 116, issue 3, 859-877

Abstract: In belligerent countries, male-to-female sex ratios at birth increased during and shortly after the two world wars. These rises occurred amidst dramatically changed marriage-market conditions caused by war-related declines in adult sex ratios, and still defy explanation. Based on county-level census data for the German state of Bavaria in the years just before and immediately after World War II, we explore the reduced-form relationship between changes in marriage-market tightness (the adult sex ratio) and changes in the offspring sex ratio, and we discuss potential mechanisms that might link the two. Our results suggest that war-induced shortfalls of men significantly increased the percentage of boys among newborns.

Date: 2014
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Working Paper: WAR, MARRIAGE MARKETS AND THE SEX RATIO AT BIRTH (2011) Downloads
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Scandinavian Journal of Economics is currently edited by Richard Friberg, Matti Liski and Kjetil Storesletten

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