February 2022

IZA DP No. 15122: Son Targeting Fertility Behavior in Albania

Marie-Claire Robitaille, Joniada Milla

The collapse of communism led to highly skewed sex-ratios in Albania, which had a long patriarchal tradition before the advent of communism. While the use of sex-selective abortions in the region is well-known, little is known about other forms taken by revealed son preference, such as differential stopping behavior and birth spacing. Using data from the Demographic Health Surveys in 2008-2009 and 2017-2018, we find evidence of a higher proportion of boys being born at the last parity, indicating that parents practice differential stopping behaviour. Using Cox Proportional Hazard model and logit; we also show that in son-less households parents shorten the birth intervals significantly, endangering mothers' and children's health. We conclude that differential stopping behaviour and short birth spacing are prevalent in all regions and across the socio-economic spectrum.