Whose Preference? Gender Relations and Husband-Wife Differences in Son Preference

Candas Pinar, Yale University
Vida Maralani, Yale University

The literature on son preference has made great strides in elucidating how patriarchal structures and norms motivate son preference. A major gap in the literature, however, is that it focuses exclusively on women’s preferences. Our study fills this gap by examining husband-wife differences in son preference in 54 developing countries. We use data from the Demographic and Health Surveys to explore how different dimensions of gender relations, such as attitudes toward intimate partner violence, relative power in household decision-making, and spousal differences in education influence husband-wife differences in son preference. We also examine how gender relations shape spouses’ relative influence over the decision to implement son preference. Our findings will shed light on the mechanisms linking gender inequality, son preference, and discriminatory fertility behavior.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors