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Economics Bulletin


An earlier study shows that there are no gender preferences among U.S. adoptive parents of international adoption. Yet, every year the U.S. adopts more girls than boys from various countries in the world. Thus, this paper investigates the effect of gender bias in 178 nations on skewed gender composition of U.S. adoptions over the last decades. Using female to male infant mortality rate as a proxy for postnatal discrimination against daughters, we find that the degree of discrimination in sending countries positively affects the excess of female to male adoptions. A one percentage point increase in the relative mortality rate of female to male infants in a sending country leads to U.S. adoptions of two more girls than boys. In addition, we show that the income of the sending country matters for the impact of gender discrimination on the gender difference of U.S. adoption.

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