Meeting her fertility target for sons increases the probability of a woman’s sterilization by 25.4% points, estimates this study.
Manini Ojha, Associate Professor, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Mehreen Mookerjee, Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Sanket Roy, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Sterilization is the most widely used form of family planning in India with the burden of sterilization falling almost entirely on women. The existence of a strong son preference and a male-biased sex ratio are also well known in India.
In this paper, we investigate the inter-linkages between female sterilization and the desire for sons in the country. Specifically, we examine the causal impact of a woman’s fertility targets for sons being met on her sterilization decision.
To measure whether her fertility target is met, we utilize information on her actual versus ideal number of sons. Exploiting exogenous variation in the sex of the firstborn as an instrument in a conditional mixed process estimation, we find that meeting her fertility target for sons increases the probability of a woman’s sterilization by 25.4% points.
Moreover, once she has had her ideal number of sons, the probability of getting sterilized within 4 years of getting married increases by 9.4% points whereas delayed sterilization becomes less likely. Our estimates are robust to alternative estimation strategies.
Published in: Applied Economics
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