Maternal Height and the Sex Ratio


This paper tests the generalized Trivers Willard hypothesis in the spirit of Kanazawa (2005), which predicts that parents with heritable traits that increase the relative reproductive success of males compared to females will have relatively more male than female offspring. We test whether taller mothers are more likely to have a male first-born using data on 400,302 mothers in a sample of Demographic Health and Surveys (DHS) from 46 developing countries. Despite using a plethora of statistical models that take into account the multi-level structure of the data, we find no strong evidence in favor of the hypothesis between and within communities, as well as on a country-by-country basis. Conversely, Andrews (1989)s inverse power calculations suggest that the absence of a statistically small effect cannot be rejected.

Journal of Evolutionary Psychology
Jean-Louis Arcand
Jean-Louis Arcand
Professor of Economics

My research interests include development economics, impact evaluation and nutrition and health.