Son preference in Pakistan: an analysis of intentions versus behavior

by Dennis N. De Tray

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A recently published study found that Pakistani couples express an approximately three-to-one preference for sons over daughters. This paper explores the extent to which couples' actual behavior is consistent with this expressed preference, and reviews a number of analytical methods for estimating the effect of sex of children on fertility behavior. The results strongly suggest that Pakistani couples do not translate their stated preferences into behavior. One implication of this finding is that techniques for influencing the sex of future births can be expected to have little effect on population growth rates.

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