Human Nature

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 169–189

Why do mothers favor girls and fathers, boys?

A hypothesis and a test of investment disparity
  • Ricardo Godoy
  • Victoria Reyes-García
  • Thomas McDade
  • Susan Tanner
  • William R. Leonard
  • Tomás Huanca
  • Vincent Vadez
  • Karishma Patel
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12110-006-1016-9

Cite this article as:
Godoy, R., Reyes-García, V., McDade, T. et al. Hum Nat (2006) 17: 169. doi:10.1007/s12110-006-1016-9

Abstract

Growing evidence suggests mothers invest more in girls than boys and fathers more in boys than girls. We develop a hypothesis that predicts preference for girls by the parent facing more resource constraints and preference for boys by the parent facing less constraint. We test the hypothesis with panel data from the Tsimane’, a foraging-farming society in the Bolivian Amazon. Tsimane’ mothers face more resource constraints than fathers. As predicted, mother’s wealth protected girl’s BMI, but father’s wealth had weak effects on boy’s BMI. Numerous tests yielded robust results, including those that controlled for fixed effects of child and household.

Key Words

BoliviaParental investmentSex biasTrivers-WillardTsimane’

Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo Godoy
    • 1
  • Victoria Reyes-García
    • 1
  • Thomas McDade
    • 2
  • Susan Tanner
    • 3
  • William R. Leonard
    • 4
  • Tomás Huanca
    • 5
  • Vincent Vadez
    • 5
  • Karishma Patel
    • 5
  1. 1.Sustainable International Development Program, MS 078, Heller School for Social Policy and ManagementBrandeis UniversityWaltham
  2. 2.Northwestern UniversityUSA
  3. 3.University of MichiganUSA
  4. 4.Northwestern UniversityUSA
  5. 5.Brandeis UniversityUSA