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Sex ratio at birth, polygyny, and fertility: a cross-national study.

Authors
  • Barber, Nigel
Type
Published Article
Journal
Social biology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2004
Volume
51
Issue
1-2
Pages
71–77
Identifiers
PMID: 17019835
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The sex ratio at birth may reflect frequency of intercourse that affects the timing of conception. If so, cross-national variation in polygyny and fertility might account for country differences in secondary sex ratios. Consistent with the timing of intercourse hypothesis, the birth sex ratios of 148 countries declined with total fertility rates and polygyny intensity, and increased with contraception use in correlational analysis. Regression analysis confirmed that polygyny was a negative predictor of the sex ratio (and contraception was a positive predictor), with level of economic development and mother's age controlled, but the effects disappeared with total fertility added to the equation. The sex ratio evidently declines with increases in fertility because more children are born at a later birth order when frequency of intercourse is lower.

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