The Effect of Preference for Sons over Daughters on Women's Agency and Empowerment Within a Household (thesis)
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While studies have shown how son preference negatively affects life outcomes of both born and unborn daughters, there is limited research examining how it, in turn, affects women who do not give birth to the desired number of sons. Employing data from Nepal and India's Demographic Health Survey (DHS), I find that women with firstborn daughters have higher fertility and shorter birth intervals than women without firstborn daughters. Likewise, women have less decision-making power in Nepal and India and a higher likelihood of experiencing domestic violence in India for not meeting their desired number of sons. Drawing upon cultural norms and marriage market setup, I also incorporate the Bargaining Model of Conflict to understand these outcomes. In summary, women bear the responsibility to deliver sons, and failure to do so is punishable with social, emotional, physical, and economic sanctions within a household. This study, therefore, is novel in uncovering substantial and previously unseen burden women in developing world carry.