EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Is There Still Son Preference in the United States?

Francine Blau (), Lawrence Kahn, Peter Brummund (), Jason Cook and Larson-Koester, Miriam ()
Additional contact information
Larson-Koester, Miriam: Cornell University

No 11003, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: In this paper, we use 2008-2013 American Community Survey data to update and further probe Dahl and Moretti's (2008) son preference results, which found evidence that having a female first child increased the probability of single female headship and raised fertility. In light of the substantial increase in immigration, we examine this question separately for immigrants and natives. Among the population in the aggregate, as well as among the native-born separately, consistent with Dahl and Moretti (2008), we find that having a female first child raises the likelihood that the mother is a single parent. However, in sharp contrast to Dahl and Moretti (2008), we find that having a female first child is actually associated with lower fertility. Thus, by the 2008-2013 period, any apparent son preference among natives in their fertility decisions appears to be outweighed by factors such as cost concerns in raising girls. This change may be plausible in light of the reversal of the gender gap in college attendance beginning in the 1980s (Goldin, Katz and Kuziemko 2006), making girls more costly. For immigrants, we also find evidence that having a female first child contributes to female headship, with an effect that has the same magnitude as that for natives although is not statistically significant. However, in contrast to natives, we do find a positive fertility effect, suggesting son preference in fertility among this group. This interpretation is further supported by evidence that, for both first and second generation immigrants (second generation immigrants were examined using the Current Population Surveys) having a girl has a more positive effect on fertility for those whose source countries have lower values of the World Economic Forum's Gender Equity Index, or lower female labor force participation rates and higher sex (boy-to-girl) ratios among births. We also examine sex selection and find no evidence that sex selection has spread beyond the race groups identified in previous work (e.g., Almond and Edlund 2008).

Keywords: gender; son preference; family structure; fertility; sex selection; immigrants (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 J11 J12 J13 J15 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-lab, nep-ltv and nep-mig
Date: 2017-09
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (11) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://ftp.iza.org/dp11003.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Is There Still Son Preference in the United States? (2017) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11003

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Holger Hinte ().

 
Page updated 2019-09-16
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11003