Sex of Children: Prior Uncertainty and Subsequent Fertility Behavior.

by Finis Welch


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There is statistical support for differences in families' intrinsic chances for having boys and evidence that subsequent fertility behavior is affected by the sex composition of the children in the family. A model of sequential decision processes is used to interpret the empirical evidence of sex preferences in the 1970 1 in 100 Sample of the U.S. Census and a retrospective pregnancy history of women in Bangladesh. These data strongly suggest that families care about sex of children, and those with large or small boy/girl ratios are more likely to "try again" than are balanced families. Implications for aggregate birth rates of an ability to predetermine sex of children are also explored. For Bangladesh the data indicate that birth intervals are affected by the sex and survival status of children born previously, and a child's chances for survival may depend on its sex and on the sex composition of its siblings. 57 pp. Bibliog.

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