Child Gender Preferences: A Robust Tale of Danish Parents

Sander Wagner, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Many recent studies have stressed that even in industrialized countries the gender of a child can have a significant impact on such parental behaviours as the division of work and housework arrangements in the couple as well as of marriage behaviour and couple stability. A possible weakness of these studies is that the potential endogeneity of child gender, while acknowledged, is normally not directly accounted for. Using 27 years of registry data including the entire Danish population we first assess which factors influence sex ratios at birth. We then go on to look at whether these factors mediate the effects of child gender on parental labour market outcomes in any meaningful way. We find that the results are remarkably robust and that there is no evidence of mediation. Surprisingly having a son negatively affects the long-term income trajectory of fathers.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households