Abstract

Gender preference, particularly son preference, is believed to sustain high fertility in many Asian countries, but previous research shows unclear effects. We examine and compare gender-preference effects on fertility in two otherwise comparable populations in Bangladesh that differ markedly in their access to and use of contraception. We expect, and find, stronger effects of gender preference in the population that has more access to contraception and higher levels of contraceptive use. Thus gender preference may emerge as a significant barrier to further national family planning efforts in Bangladesh. We find that if a woman has at least one daughter, the risk of a subsequent birth is related negatively to the number of sons. Women with no daughters also experience a higher risk of having a subsequent birth; this finding suggests that there is also some preference for daughters. Son preference is strong in both the early and later stages of family formation, but women also want to have at least one daughter after having several sons.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.

References

Ahmed, Nilufer R. (
1981
).
Family Size and Sex Preferences among Women in Rural Bangladesh
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
12
,
100
9
. 10.2307/1966371
Allison, Paul (
1982
).
Discrete-Time Methods for the Analysis of Event Histories
. In Linhardt, S. (Ed.),
Sociological Methodology 1982
(pp.
61
98
).
San Francisco
:
Jossey-Bass
.
Amin, Ruhul, & Mariam, A. G. (
1987
).
Son Preference in Bangladesh: An Emerging Barrier to Fertility Regulation
.
Journal of Biosocial Science
,
19
,
221
28
. 10.1017/S0021932000016813
Arnold, Fred (
1985
).
Measuring the Effect of Sex Preference on Fertility: The Case of Korea
.
Demography
,
22
,
280
88
. 10.2307/2061182
Arnold, Fred (
1987
).
The Effect of Sex Preference on Fertility and Family Planning: Empirical Evidence
.
Population Bulletin of the United Nations
,
23
,
44
55
.
Arnold, Fred (
1991
).
Sex Preference for Children and Its Demographic and Health Implications
Proceedings of the Demographic and Health Surveys World Conference
(pp.
249
73
).
Columbia, MD
:
IRD/Macro International, Inc
.
Bairagi, Radheshyam (
1987
).
A Comment on Fred Arnold’s “Measuring the Effect of Sex Preference on Fertility’
.
Demography
,
24
,
137
38
. 10.2307/2061513
Bairagi, Radheshyam, & Längsten, Ray L. (
1986
).
Sex Preference for Children and Its Implications for Fertility in Rural Bangladesh
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
17
,
302
07
. 10.2307/1966907
Bhatia, Shushum, Henry Mosley, W., Faruque, Abu S. G., & Chakraborty, Jotsnamoy (
1980
).
The Matlab Family Planning-Health Services Project
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
11
,
202
12
. 10.2307/1966377
Brown, Kenneth H., Black, Robert E., Becker, Stan, Nahar, Shamsun, & Sawyer, J. (
1982
).
Consumption of Foods and Nutrients by Weanlings in Rural Bangladesh
.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
,
36
,
878
89
.
Chowdhury, Aminul I, & Phillips, James F. (
1985
).
Socio-economic Status Differentials among Currently Married Women of Reproductive Age: FP Services Project, 1974 Matlab Census
.
Journal of Family Welfare
,
31
,
3
11
.
Chowdhury, Mridul K., & Bairagi, Radheshyam (
1991
).
Son Preference and Fertility in Bangladesh
.
Population and Development Review
,
16
,
749
57
. 10.2307/1972966
Cleland, John, Verrall, Jane, & Vaessen, Martin (
1983
).
Preferences for the Sex of Children and Their Influence on Reproductive Behavior
World Fertility Survey Comparative Studies: Cross-National Summaries No. 27
.
Voorburg
:
International Statistical Institute
.
Coale, Ansley J. (
1973
).
The Demographic Transition
International Population Conference 1973
(pp.
53
72
).
Liege
:
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population
.
Coombs, Lologene C. (
1979
).
Prospective Fertility and Underlying Preferences: A Longitudinal Study in Taiwan
.
Population Studies
,
33
,
447
55
. 10.2307/2173891
Coombs, Lologene C., & Sun, Te-Hsiung (
1978
).
Family Composition Preferences in a Developing Culture: The Case of Taiwan
.
Population Studies
,
32
,
43
64
. 10.2307/2173840
Cox, D.R. (
1972
).
Regression Models and Life Tables
.
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society
,
34
,
187
202
.
Das, Narayan (
1987
).
Sex Preference and Fertility Behavior: A Study of Recent Indian Data
.
Demography
,
24
,
517
30
. 10.2307/2061389
DaVanzo, Julie, & Starbird, Ellen H. (
1991
).
Correlates of Short Interbirth Intervals in Peninsular Malaysia: Their Pathways of Influence through Breastfeeding and Contraceptive Use
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
22
,
241
54
. 10.2307/1966480
De Tray, Dennis (
1984
).
Son Preference in Pakistan: An Analysis of Intentions versus Behavior
.
Research in Population Economics
,
5
,
185
200
.
Gadalla, Saad, McCarthy, James, & Campbell, Oona (
1985
).
How the Number of Sons Influences Contraceptive Use in Menoufia Governorate, Egypt
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
16
,
164
69
. 10.2307/1967018
Guilkey, David K., Rindfuss, Ronald R., Popkin, Barry M., Akin, John S., & Paqueo, Vincent (
1988
).
Child Spacing in the Philippines: The Effect of Current Characteristics and Rural Development
.
Population Studies
,
42
,
259
73
. 10.1080/0032472031000143356
Huffman, Sandra L., Ford, Kathleen, Allen, Hubert A., & Streble, P. (
1987
).
Nutrition and Fertility in Bangladesh: Breastfeeding and Post Partum Amenorrhoea
.
Population Studies
,
41
,
447
62
. 10.1080/0032472031000142996
Kaplan, E., & Meier, P. (
1958
).
Non-Parametric Estimation from Incomplete Observation
.
Journal of the American Statistical Association
,
53
,
457
81
. 10.2307/2281868
Karki, Yagya B. (
1988
).
Sex Preference and the Value of Sons and Daughters in Nepal
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
19
,
169
78
. 10.2307/1966752
Khan, M. Ali, & Sirageldin, Ismail (
1977
).
Son Preference and Demand for Additional Children in Pakistan
.
Demography
,
14
,
481
96
. 10.2307/2060591
Khan, M. E., Anker, R., Dastidar, S. K. G., & Bairathi, S. (
1989
).
Inequalities between Men and Women in Nutrition and Family Welfare Services: An In-Depth Enquiry in an Indian Village
. In Caldwell, J. C., & Santow, G. (Eds.),
Selected Readings in the Cultural, Social, and Behavioral Determinants of Health
(pp.
175
99
).
Canberra
:
Highland Press
.
Koenig, Michael A., Rob, Ubaidur, Khan, Mehrab A., Chakraborty, Jotsnamoy, Foo, Gillian H. C., & Fauveau, Vincent (
1991
).
Contraceptive Use in Matlab, Bangladesh in 1990: Levels, Trends, and Explanations
.
Dhaka
:
International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh
.
Lawless, J.F. (
1982
).
Statistical Models and Methods for Life Time Data
.
New York
:
Wiley
.
Leung, Siu F. (
1988
).
On the Test of Sex Preference
.
Journal of Population Economics
,
1
,
95
114
. 10.1007/BF00163884
McClelland, Gary H. (
1979
).
Determining the Impact of Sex Preferences on Fertility: A Consideration of Parity Progression Ratio, Dominance, and Stopping Rule Measures
.
Demography
,
16
,
377
88
. 10.2307/2061219
Merrill, Deborah. 1989. “Children’s Gender and Marital Dissolution: Evidence from Developing Countries.” Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Population Association of America, Baltimore.
Mukherji, S. (
1977
).
Desire for Children and Observed Fertility
.
Journal of Family Welfare
,
24
,
16
22
.
Nag, Moni (
1991
).
Sex Preference in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, and Its Effect on Fertility
.
New York
:
Population Council
.
Contraception and Reproduction: Health Consequences for Women and Children in the Developing World
. (
1989
).
Washington, DC
:
National Academy Press
.
Park, Chai Bin (
1978
).
The Fourth Korean Child: The Effect of Son Preference on Subsequent Fertility
.
Journal of Biosocial Science
,
10
,
95
106
. 10.1017/S0021932000011482
Park, Chai Bin (
1983
).
Preference for Sons, Family Size, and Sex Ratio: An Empirical Study in Korea
.
Demography
,
20
,
333
52
. 10.2307/2061246
Phillips, James F., Simmons, Ruth, Chakraborty, Jotsnamoy, & Chowdhury, Aminul I. (
1984
).
Integrating Health Services into an MCH-FP Program: Lessons from Matlab, Bangladesh
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
14
,
153
61
. 10.2307/1966132
Phillips, James F., Simmons, Ruth, Koenig, Michael A., & Chakraborty, Jotsnamoy (
1988
).
Determinants of Reproductive Change in a Traditional Society: Evidence from Matlab, Bangladesh
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
19
,
313
34
. 10.2307/1966627
Phillips, James F., Stinson, Wayne, Bhatia, Shushum, & Chakraborty, Jotsnamoy (
1982
).
The Demographic Impact of the Family Planning Health Services Project in Matlab, Bangladesh
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
15
,
62
73
. 10.2307/1966047
Rahman, Mizanur. 1990. “Gender Preference, Fertility Behavior, and Excess Female Child Mortality in Matlab, Bangladesh.” Doctoral dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University.
Rahman, Mizanur, Akbar, Jalaluddin, Phillips, James F., & Becker, Stan (
1992
).
Sex Composition of Children and Contraceptive Use in Matlab, Bangladesh
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
23
,
229
42
. 10.2307/1966885
Repetto, Robert (
1972
).
Son Preference and Fertility Behavior in Developing Countries
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
3
,
70
6
. 10.2307/1965363
Williamson, Nancy E (
1976
).
Sons or Daughters: A Cross Cultural Survey of Parental Preferences
.
Beverly Hills
:
Sage
.