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Death, sex, and fertility: female infanticide in rural Spain, 1750–1950

Son targeting fertility behaviour: some consequences and determinants

Francisco J Beltrán Tapia and Francisco J Marco-Gracia

European Review of Economic History, 2022, vol. 26, issue 2, 234-254

Abstract: Relying on longitudinal micro data from rural Spain between 1750 and 1950, this article evidences that families mortally neglected a significant fraction of their female babies. Firstly, baptism records exhibited exceptionally high sex ratios at birth until the late nineteenth century. Secondly, having no previous male siblings increased the probability of male baptisms. Likewise, this same feature, together with the number of siblings alive, also increased female mortality during the first day of life. These findings are concentrated at higher parities and among landless and semi-landless families. Lastly, under-registration cannot explain these patterns affecting female mortality shortly after birth.

Date: 2022
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Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:26:y:2022:i:2:p:234-254.