One male offspring preference: evidence from Vietnam using a split-population model
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This paper examines sex preferences for children in Vietnam using the mother birth cohort from 1972 to 1993. We specify the full set for sex–birth order composition of existing children using a split-population model. The model relaxes the assumption in conventional hazard models that all mothers would eventually have another child. Our results indicate a preference in these families for one male offspring. In addition, we observe a mixed sex preference at the fourth birth order. We also establish that a one-square-meter increase in household living area, as a proxy for the increment in household wealth, is associated with a 0.997 times lower preference for a son for the second childbirth, but a 1.015 and 1.014 times higher preference for a son for the third and fourth childbirths, respectively. As long as two-child families dominate the population structure, these results suggest that the importance placed on economic reasons for a son preference will gradually weaken as economic development proceeds in Vietnam.
KeywordsSon preference Sex composition Birth spacing Birth order Split-population model
JEL ClassificationJ11 J12 J13
The authors acknowledge the useful suggestions of Hisakazu Matsushige, Tsunehiro Ootsuki, and Charles Yuji Horioka of Osaka University, and participants at the Labor Economics Conference held in Awajishima, Japan, on September 4–6, 2011, and the Fall Meeting of the Japanese Economic Association held at Tsukuba University, Japan, on October 29–30, 2011. The authors would especially like to thank Shoshana Grossbard and three anonymous referees for valuable comments and suggestions made during the reviewing process. All remaining errors are ours.
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