Preference for sons and daughters in developing countries: When does (dis)agreement between spouses come into play?
The paper compares the role of men’s and women’s ideals concerning the sex composition of children for women’s desire to stop childbearing and for use of contraception by couples in 45 developing countries. Probabilities of each outcome are considered when the sex composition of children matches the ideals of both the woman and her partner, of the woman or her partner only, and of neither of them. Demographic and Health Survey couples datasets are analyzed. Models with country fixed effects are estimated for two pooled samples, one including couples from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the other couples from all other regions. The probability of using contraception and (outside the SSA countries) of women’s fertility stopping desire is lowest when sex composition ideals of both spouses are not matched. Matched ideals of only men or only women do not differ statistically in their effect upon the probability of both outcomes, except women’s desire to stop fertility outside SSA, which is more probable when only women’s ideals are matched. In contrast to what might be expected in contexts with low gender equality, women’s fertility desires are governed by their own sex composition preferences and play an equally decisive role in family planning.
Original titlePreference for sons and daughters in developing countries: When does (dis)agreement between spouses come into play?