Jan Kabátek - Demand for Sons, or Demanding Daughters?

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Jan Kabátek


Melbourne Institute Brown Bag

Title: Demand for Sons, or Demanding Daughters?

Abstract: Several studies have found that couples whose first child is a girl are more likely to divorce than couples whose first child is a boy. Various explanations of this finding emerged, ranging from father's preference for sons, to gender-based selection into live birth. Using Dutch marriage registers, we find that up to the age of 13, the gender of the first-born has no effect on the risk of divorce. However, starting at the age of 13, couples with first-born daughters are found to face 5–10% higher risk of divorce, and this effect reverts back to zero after the 19th birthday. This novel finding is at odds with the standard son preference theory, and points to explanations which are based on idiosyncrasies of parental relationships with teenage boys and girls. We explore this domain further by analyzing responses of parents and their children in a rich household socio-economic panel, concluding that the families with teenage girls record significantly higher levels of conflict than families with teenage boys.

Presenter: Jan Kabátek, Melbourne Institute, University of Melbourne

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