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Sex Composition of Children and Marital Disruption in India

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Abstract

Although it has been suggested that parents of sons are less likely than parents of daughters to divorce, few studies have explored this relationship in societies characterized by a strong preference for sons, where such an effect should be most pronounced. Using data from 116,498 once-married female respondents to the 1992–1993 and 1998–1999 Indian National Family Health Surveys, we found that at lower parities, having at least one son is associated with a significantly lower risk of divorce or separation. Moreover, with few exceptions, the effect of children's sex composition on the risk of divorce holds for subgroups of Indian women across categories of education, religion, location (urban vs. rural), caste, cohort, and region.

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