Technological Changes, Social Norms and Fertility Choices
We study the impact of a dramatic improvement in agricultural technology (also known as the Green Revolution) on sex ratio in rural India — a setting characterized by patrilocal marriage. Since married daughters do not make substantial material contributions to their natal families, a higher wage rate translates into an increase in the returns to having a son vis-à-vis a daughter. Our empirical estimates suggest adoption of the new technology exacerbates male-biased fertility stopping behaviours. To shed light on mechanisms, we construct a life-cycle model featuring endogenous sequential fertility choices in a patrilocal setting. Quantitative results suggest that Green Revolution can account for about 55% of the increase in male-bias in the Indian population. Counterfactual exercises indicate that formal pension schemes may play an important role in reducing the male-bias in population sex ratio.
(jointly with Helu Jiang, Nikita Sangwan)