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Research on American Gender Preferences at Birth Highlighted in The New York Times

Sat, 03/17/2018

A recent working paper authored by Professors Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn, Cornell Economics Ph.D. alumni Professors Peter Brummund (Alabama) and Jason Cook (Pittsburgh), and current graduate student Miriam Larson-Koester indicates that American parents' preference to have a son may have shifted to a preference of having a daughter.

The New York Times Upshot article "Americans Might No Longer Prefer Sons Over Daughters" by Claire Cain Miller suggests that American parents’ shift to preferring a girl may be due to a decrease in bias against girls and an increase in bias against boys.

In a survey from 1941 to 2011 (surveying Americans 10 times), data showed 40 percent of the participants would prefer to have a boy, 28 percent preferred a girl, and that the rest of the survey population showed no preference.

New evidence may suggest a shift to preferring daughters over sons due to “a subtle fear of boys and the trouble they might bring."   After studying fertility data from 2008-2013, Professor Blau and her colleagues said “the new data shows that other factors now outweigh the preference for sons. That could indicate a preference for daughters, or it could be a combination of things."

Read the entire New York Times Upshot article click here. 

Francine D. Blau is Frances Perkins Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Professor of Economics at Cornell University, a Research Associate of the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research), and a Research Fellow of IZA (the Institute for the Study of Labor).
She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University and her BS from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. Before returning to Cornell in 1994, she was on the faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Francine Blau was awarded the 2010 Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) Prize in Labor Economics and received the 2017 Judge William B. Groat Alumni Award from the ILR School.  She was also awarded the 2017 Mincer Award by The Society of Labor Economists for her lifetime of achievements and contributions to the Field of Labor Economics.

Lawrence M. Kahn is the Braunstein Family Professor and Professor of Economics. He is an elected Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists. He is a Research Fellow of the Center for Economic Studies/Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich, Germany, of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany, and of the National Centre for Econometric Research in Australia (Sportometrics Program)

Before joining the Cornell faculty in 1994, Kahn was a Professor of Economics and Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois. He has served as Visiting Fellow in the Economics Department of Princeton University, Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York, Visiting Scholar at the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Visiting Scholar at the Office of Labour Market Policy Evaluation in Uppsala, Sweden, and Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. He has also served as a member of the National Academy Sciences Committee on Women's Employment and Related Social Issues.

Professor Peter Brummund graduated from Cornell in 2012 with a Ph.D. in Economics. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Alabama.

Professor Jason Cook received his Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University and is now an Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh. His research fields include Labor, Public Finance, and Economics of Education.

Miriam Larson-Koester is a current graduate student in the Cornell Economics Ph.D. Program.  Her current research interests include Labor Economics, Economics of Gender, and Econometrics.

  249 Americans Might No Longer Prefer Sons Over Daughters Article

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