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The gender pay gap and son preference: evidence from India
Authors: Terry-Ann Craigie, and Shatanjaya Dasgupta
Source: Oxford Development Studies, 45(4): 479-498; DOI: 10.1080/13600818.2017.1293629
Topic(s): Fertility preferences
Son preference
Country: Asia
Published: FEB 2017
Abstract: This study explores the role of the gender pay gap in explaining the downward trend in son preference in India. This hypothesis is based on the underlying theory that parents allocate more resources to male children because the expected returns are higher for male relative to female children. However, rising relative earnings of women in India may increase the expected returns to investing in girls, and ultimately help to lower son preference in general. Using data from the 2005–2006 National Family and Health Survey (NFHS) and the 2004 Integrated Public Use Microdata Series-International (IPUMS-International), we construct a gender pay gap measure from exogenous labor demand to identify the effect on reported son preference among men and women. Regression results confirm that reducing the gender pay gap helps lower son preference among men and women.