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Mon, 30 Jan


AC04 005

Consequences of a Ban on Sex-Selective Abortions

Dr Anisha Sharma and former Ashoka University student Garima Rastogi have been awarded 2023 Kuznets Prize for their research paper, titled, “Unwanted daughters: The unintended consequences of a banon sex-selective abortions on the educational attainment of women.”

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Consequences of a Ban on Sex-Selective Abortions
Consequences of a Ban on Sex-Selective Abortions

Time & Location

30 Jan 2023, 5:30 pm

AC04 005, Ashoka University

About the Event


The study answers the question whether legal restrictions on prenatal discrimination against females leads to a shift by parents towards postnatal discrimination. The authors exploit the staggered introduction of a ban on sex-selective abortions across states in India to find that a legal restriction on abortions in India led to an increase in the number of females born, as well as a widening in the gender gap in educational attainment. Females born in states affected by the ban are 2.3, 3.5 and 3.2 percentage points less likely to complete grade 10, complete grade 12 and enter university relative to males. These effects are concentrated among non-wealthy households that lacked the resources to evade the ban. Investigating mechanisms, we find that the relative reduction in investments in female education were not driven by family size but because surviving females were now relatively unwanted. Discrimination is amplified among higher order births and among females with relatively few sisters. Finally, these negative effects exist despite the existence of a marriage market channel through which parents increase investments in their daughters' education to increase the probability that they make a high-quality match.

About the Speaker: 

Professor Anisha Sharma is a development economist at Ashoka University, India. Her research interests are in labour economics, the economics of health and education, and public policy, with a particular interest in gender gaps across these dimensions. One strand of her research focuses on how people make decisions about human capital investments, and how gendered social norms influence their choices. Another strand of her research relates to the constraints on firms from hiring women, as well as the socioeconomic factors that constrain women’s labour supply. Her work has been supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Innovations for Poverty Action, J-PAL, and Centre for Economic Policy Research, among others. She received a PhD in Economics, an MSc in Economics for Development and an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

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