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Explaining son preference in rural India: The independent role of structural versus individual factors
Authors: Pande, R.P., N.M. Astone
Source: Population Research and Policy Review, Vol 26, Num 1
Topic(s): Family structure
Son preference
Country: Asia
Published: FEB 2007
Abstract: Much research has been done on demographic manifestations of son preference, particularly girls' excess mortality; however, there is less research that focuses on son preference in rural India. We separate the independent, relative effects of characteristics of individual women and their households, village opportunities for women and village development, and social norms. We look at socioeconomic and sociocultural variables. Finally, we examine whether predictors of son preference differ by desired family size. Our data come from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) India 1992-1993. We used an ordered logit model, with dummy variables for state of residence. Our analysis shows that women's education, particularly at secondary and higher levels, is consistently and significantly associated with weaker son preference, regardless of desired family size. Once factors measuring social norms, such as marriage customs, caste and religion are included, economic wealth and women's employment at the household or village levels are not significant.