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First daughter effects in Japan

Reo Takaku

Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, 2018, vol. 50, issue C, 48-59

Abstract: Some influential studies suggest that a firstborn daughter is associated with (1) lower marital quality and (2) greater participation in the labor market by mothers. They also point out that a strong preference for sons among fathers may explain these first daughter effects. This study replicates these findings in large cities in Japan, where parents generally exhibit no son preference. In order to derive causal effects, I exploit quasi-random assignment of the firstborn child’s sex. The main results from two surveys consistently find sizable effects from the firstborn child’s sex on later marital life: a firstborn daughter is associated with an increased incidence of domestic violence between her father and mother. In addition, a firstborn daughter is associated with lower marital and family happiness among mothers. Concerning the effects of the firstborn child’s sex on maternal labor supply, mothers with a firstborn daughter were consistently found to exhibit a greater labor supply. Finally, I find statistically significant first daughter effects for many outcome variables among mothers but not fathers. The overall findings from this paper suggest that first daughter effects in Japan appear to be similar to those reported in countries with a strong parental son preference.

Keywords: Japan; First daughter effects; Son preference; Domestic violence; J-SHINE (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 J16 I10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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