Sex selection and health at birth among Indian immigrants

Authors: Libertad González

Economics and Human Biology, Vol. 29, 64-75, May, 2018

I use birth-certificate data for Spain to document extremely son-biased sex ratios at birth among Indian immigrants (122 boys per 100 girls), especially at higher parities. I also show that the children of Indian immigrants display poor health outcomes during infancy. For instance, almost 10% of boys with Indian parents are born prematurely, compared with 6% of boys with native parents. However, there is no evidence of a gender gap in infant health among the children of Indian immigrants. I provide evidence suggesting that the poor outcomes of Indian children at birth may be attributed to the low endowments of Indian mothers, while the absence of a gender gap may be driven by the fact that the parents who would invest less in girls are less likely to carry the pregnancies of girls to term (more likely to practice sex-selective abortion), combined with the lower cost of prenatal investments in Spain (compared with India)

This paper originally appeared as Barcelona School of Economics Working Paper 886