Hepatitis B and the Case of the Missing Women
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CitationOster, Emily. “Hepatitis B and the Case of the Missing Women.” CID Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Working Paper Series 2005.7, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, September 2005.
AbstractIn many Asian countries the ratio of male to female population is higher than in the West - as high as 1.07 in China and India, and even higher in Pakistan. A number of authors (most notably Sen, 1992) have suggested that this imbalance reflects excess female mortality and, as a result, have argued that as many as 100 million women are "missing." This paper proposes an explanation for some of the observed over-representation of males: the hepatitis B virus. I present new evidence, consistent with an existing scientific literature, that carriers of the hepatitis B virus have offspring sex ratios around 1.50 boys for each girl. This evidence includes both cross-country analyses and a natural experiment based on recent vaccination campaigns. Hepatitis B is common in many Asian countries, especially China, where some 10 to 15% of the population is infected. Using data on viral prevalence by country as well as estimates of the effect of hepatitis on sex ratio, I argue that hepatitis B can account for about 45% of the "missing women": around 75% in China, between 20% and 50% in Egypt, and West Asia, and under 20% in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37366429