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Missing women in China and India over seven decades:an analysis of birth and mortality data from 1950 to 2020

Gaurav Datt (), Cun Liu and Russell Smyth ()

No 12-20, Monash Economics Working Papers from Monash University, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper constructs long-run estimates of total missing women (including missing girls at birth and excess female deaths) in China and India over seven decades from 1950 to 2020. We find that the number of missing women in India has been higher than in China throughout the seven decades. Over time, missing girls at birth grew faster in China than India, but China has made more rapid progress in reducing excess female deaths. Since the 1980s, there has been a rapid rise in the share of female birth deficits in both countries, while the composition of excess female deaths in both countries has shifted from younger to older age groups. Our estimated trends for missing girls are consistent with the introduction and spread of sex-determination (ultrasound) technology in China and India; the timing and pace of fertility decline associated with demographic transition in both countries; and the introduction, relaxation and discontinuation of the One Child Policy in China. Our estimated time pattern of excess female deaths in China, relative to India, is consistent with high female mortality during the Great Famine of 1958-1961 in China, but later the more universalistic improvement in social indicators in China than in India.

Keywords: missing women; sex ratio; gender discrimination; China; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J11 J13 J16 N35 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 73 pages
Date: 2020-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna, nep-dem and nep-his
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