Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


Measuring sex-selective abortion: Are there repeated abortions?


Veronique Gille
Université Paris-Dauphine


15th March 2018 (Thursday) at 3:00 PM

Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

All are cordially invited

An imbalance in the observed sex-ratio at birth tells us the number of sex-selective abortions. However, not much more is known about the underlying abortion behavior which is a glaring issue given the increasing imbalance seen in some countries. In particular, the number of women that abort and whether they practice repeated sex-selective abortions per born child is unknown. In this paper, modeling spacing between two births, we show that there is a differential increase in spacing conditional on the sex of the next-born when there is sex-selective abortion. We first derive a testable implication to determine if there is repeated abortion. Next, under assumptions about the number of repeated abortions, we derive bounds for the parameters underlying our model, i.e., the fractions of the populations undergoing sex-selective abortions. Finally, under additional distributional assumptions, we employ Maximum Likelihood to obtain point estimates of the parameters of interest. Applying our methods to Indian DHS data we find evidence for repeated abortions.

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