Why do mothers favor girls and fathers, boys?
- 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
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.