Gender preference, particularly son preference, is believed to sustain high fertility in many Asian countries, but previous research shows unclear effects. The authors examine and compare gender-preference effects on fertility in two otherwise comparable populations in Bangladesh that differ markedly in their access to and use of contraception. The authors find, as expected, stronger effects of gender preference in the population that has more access to contraception and contraceptive use. Thus gender preference may emerge as a significant barrier to further national family planning efforts in Bangladesh. The authors find that if a woman has at least one daughter, the risk of subsequent birth is related negatively to the number of sons. Women with no daughters also experience a higher risk of having a subsequent birth; this finding suggests that there is also some preference for daughters. Son preference is strong in both the early and later stages of family formation, but women also want to have at least one daughter after having several sons.
Originally published in: Demography, v. 30, no. 3, August 1993, pp. 315-332.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.