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Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 873–893 | Cite as

Son preference in Japan

  • Wataru KureishiEmail author
  • Midori Wakabayashi
Original Paper

Abstract

We examine the sex preference in Japan, using Japanese microdata, and find that parents in the 1920–1939 cohort have a lexicographic son preference. Further, the lexicographic son preference disappears in subsequent cohorts and a mixed preference is observed in parents with two children. These results are supported when the parents’ socioeconomic background is considered. Cohort effects such as weakening son preference and emerging mixed preference are observed. Moreover, when husbands are the eldest sons, a lexicographic son preference is observed only in the 1920–1939 cohort, although it persists in the subsequent cohorts when husbands are farmers/self-employed workers.

Keywords

Son preference Sex preference Fertility 

JEL Classification

J11 J12 J13 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are greatly indebted to anonymous referees and Charles Yuji Horioka for their kind advice, comments, and discussion throughout the process of writing this paper. We would also like to thank Tetsushi Homma, Daiji Kawaguchi, Colin McKenzie, Hideki Mizukami, James Raymo, Kei Sakata, Shizuka Sekita, Sawako Shirahase, Keiko Tamada, and the seminar participants at the University of Toyama, the Japanese Economic Association meeting of September 2007, and Prof. Horioka’s graduate seminar for their helpful comments and discussions. In addition, we thank the National Family Research of Japan and the Information Center for Social Science Research on Japan, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo (SSJ Data Archive), for permitting us to use data from the study “Trails of Families in Post-War Japan” (in Japanese, Sengo Nihon no Kazoku no Ayumi) (SSJDA0400). We are also indebted to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of the Japanese government for the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (numbers 18330068 and 19330062) for supporting this research.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The National Institute of Population and Social Security ResearchChiyoda-kuJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of EconomicsOsaka Prefecture UniversitySakaiJapan

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