War, Marriage Markets, and the Sex Ratio at Birth

19 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2014

See all articles by Dirk Bethmann

Dirk Bethmann

Korea University - Department of Economics

Michael Kvasnicka

RWI Essen (Berlin Office)

Date Written: July 2014

Abstract

In belligerent countries, male‐to‐female sex ratios at birth increased during and shortly after the two world wars. These rises occurred amidst dramatically changed marriage‐market conditions caused by war‐related declines in adult sex ratios, and still defy explanation. Based on county‐level census data for the German state of Bavaria in the years just before and immediately after World War II, we explore the reduced‐form relationship between changes in marriage‐market tightness (the adult sex ratio) and changes in the offspring sex ratio, and we discuss potential mechanisms that might link the two. Our results suggest that war‐induced shortfalls of men significantly increased the percentage of boys among newborns.

Keywords: Marriage markets, sex ratio at birth, World War II

JEL Classification: J12, J13, N34

Suggested Citation

Bethmann, Dirk and Kvasnicka, Michael, War, Marriage Markets, and the Sex Ratio at Birth (July 2014). The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 116, Issue 3, pp. 859-877, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2450352 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjoe.12065

Dirk Bethmann (Contact Author)

Korea University - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Anam-dong 5 ka
Seoul, 136-701
Korea

Michael Kvasnicka

RWI Essen (Berlin Office) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Berlin, 45128
Germany

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