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Son preference and induced abortion in rural China: findings from the 2001 National Reproductive Health Survey

Shuzhuo Li, Xi'an Jiaotong University
Yan Wei, Xi'an Jiaotong University
Marcus W. Feldman, Stanford University

Using data from the 2001 National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Survey, this paper studies the relationship between son preference and induced abortion in rural China during periods with different birth control policies. The paper finds that temporal trends and patterns of variation in induced abortion and sex ratio at birth are fundamentally consistent. Among women with only two children, the risk of having an induced abortion to end the next pregnancy is significantly higher for those whose first child is a daughter than for those whose first child is a son. These results reveal that sex-selective abortion is widely prevalent, that son preference is an important determinant of induced abortion, and that sex-selective abortion has played an important role in the rise in sex ratio at birth in rural China.

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Presented in Session 156: Induced abortion (2)