Traditional agricultural practices and the sex ratio today
Paola Giuliano (),
Alberto Alesina and
No 12856, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers
We study the historical origins of cross-country differences in the male-to-female sex ratio. Our analysis focuses on the use of the plough in traditional agriculture. In societies that did not use the plough, women tended to participate in agriculture as actively as men. By contrast, in societies that used the plough, men specialized in agricultural work, due to the physical strength needed to pull the plough or control the animal that pulls it. We hypothesize that this difference caused plough-using societies to value boys more than girls. Today, this belief is reflected in male-biased sex ratios, which arise due to sex-selective abortion or infanticide, or gender-differences in access to family resources, which results in higher mortality rates for girls. Testing this hypothesis, we show that descendants of societies that traditionally practiced plough agriculture today have higher average male-to-female sex ratios. We find that this effect systematically increases in magnitude and statistical significance as one looks at older cohorts. Estimates using instrumental variables confirm our findings from multivariate OLS analysis.
Keywords: Sex ratio; Gender roles; Historical persistence; Cultural transmission (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 N00 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-gen, nep-gro and nep-his
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (15) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at email@example.com
Journal Article: Traditional agricultural practices and the sex ratio today (2018)
Working Paper: Traditional Agricultural Practices and the Sex Ratio Today (2018)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12856
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers Centre for Economic Policy Research, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().