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All we want is a healthy baby – well, and one that is the opposite sex to what we have already

Dolan, Paul, Moran, Cahal and Outes, Ingo (2023) All we want is a healthy baby – well, and one that is the opposite sex to what we have already. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 106. ISSN 2214-8043

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socec.2023.102066

Abstract

We all know families with three boys or three girls. Did they go on to have three children in the hope that the third child would be the opposite sex to the first two? Are they disappointed when they have another child of the same sex? In this paper, using two British cohort studies, we construct a sample of parents that only differ in the sex of the third born child when the first two are the same sex. Conditional on pregnancy, the sex of a child is random so it is an exogenous influence on the SWB of the parents. We show that, contrary to previous studies, having three children of the same sex negatively affects life satisfaction. This effect is entirely driven by mothers who have a third girl and lasts for ten years after birth. We conversely find that having two children of the same sex boosts SWB. We offer an explanation for this pattern of findings and discuss its implications.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2023 10:15
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 21:30
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/119935

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