Prenatal Sex Selection and Girls’ Well‐Being: Evidence from India
The paper studies the impact of prenatal sex selection on the well‐being of girls by analyzing changes in children’s nutritional status and mortality during the years since the diffusion of prenatal sex determination technologies in India. We use the ratio of male to female births in the year and state in which a child was born as a proxy for parental access to prenatal sex‐selection. We find that an increase in the practice of prenatal sex selection appears to be associated with a reduction in the incidence of malnutrition among girls. The negative association is stronger for girls born in rural households and at higher birth parities. We find no evidence that prenatal sex selection leads to a selection of girls into families of higher SES, however we do find some evidence of a larger reduction in family size for girls relative to boys. We also find some suggestive evidence of better treatment of girls as reflected in breastfeeding duration. On the other hand, prenatal sex selection does not appear to be associated with a reduction in excess female child mortality.