Conflicts and son preference: micro-level evidence from 58 countries

JournalEconomics & Human Biology
AuthorsSrinivas Goli, Astghik Mavisakalyan, Anu Rammohan, Lili Loan Vu
PublishedMay 2022
Number of Pages54

Research on the association between armed conflict and son preference has largely been based on single-country studies, often presenting descriptive patterns.

This paper empirically analyses the association between conflict and son preference using a sample of more than 1.1 million individuals from 58 countries over the period 2003-2018.

We empirically show that both the incidence and intensity of conflict exposure are associated with greater son preference. Moreover, conflict-exposed individuals are likely to realise their preference for sons, as reflected in the systematically higher prevalence of sons over daughters among these individuals.

To explore the aggregate effects of these findings, we conduct a cross-country analysis of sex ratios and show that history of conflict exposure plays an important role in explaining the cross-country differences in sex ratios.