Project title Sex selection in India
Project duration 4 weeks

India has one of the highest male-to-female sex ratios in the world, reflecting a strong son preference. This link has become particularly pronounced since technological advancements in pre-natal sex selection starting in the late 1980s. Imbalanced sex-selection ratios can lead to consequences in a number of areas, such as for the marriage market, labour market, adolescent health and social mobility.

The strength of son preferences is affected by various factors, both economic and social/cultural, and this in turn can affect sex ratios. This project is focused on identifying these factors, such as dowry prices, religion and economic productivity, and then trying to untangle their effects.

The student will conduct a literature review of academic papers on the issue of sex selection in India, with a particular focus on comparing and contrasting these factors. We have already made a pre-selection of the papers we think are most relevant and important, though the student can also search more broadly and offer their own input and ideas on the research direction.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

This project is more than just a general literature review, as we are most interested in identifying relevant factors for an important policy issue in development economics. The student will not only receive feedback and direction on how to conduct a high-quality review of literature, but also learn how this process feeds into a broader research project in applied economics. Different methodologies will be discussed for how the effects can be measured, and we will also talk about what data is available and how it can be used, in light of techniques and factors identified in the literature review.

Suitable for

This project is especially suitable for students who have conducted literature reviews in the past. Students with experience and interest in applied economics, microeconometrics or development economics would also find the project very suitable. 

Primary supervisor Dr David Smerdon