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Maternal Longevity and the Sex of Offspring: Evidence from Pre-Industrial Sweden

David Cesarini (), Erik Lindqvist () and Björn Wallace ()
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Björn Wallace: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

No 651, SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance from Stockholm School of Economics

Abstract: Helle et al. (2002) used data from Finnish parish records to study the cost of bearing sons vis-à-vis daughters in terms of postmenopausal longevity and found a large and significant cost associated with sons. In this paper, we replicate and extend their analysis on a larger dataset of pre-modern Swedish women and find no evidence of a negative relative impact of sons. Neither do we find any evidence for the resource competition hypothesis put forth by Van de Putte et al. (2004), despite the relative poverty of our study population. This suggests that the effects found in Helle et al. (2002) were not a general feature of life in pre-modern populations. Finally, we raise some concerns regarding the methodology used and inferences made in previous studies on the topic.

Keywords: maternal longevity; sons; demography (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 20 pages
Date: 2007-01-26
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Published as Cesarini, David, Erik Lindqvist and Björn Wallace, 'Maternal Longevity and the Sex of Offspring: Evidence from Pre-Industrial Sweden' in Annals of Human Biology, 2007, pages 535-546.

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:hastef:0651

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