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Patrilineality, Son Preference, and Sex Selection in South Korea and Vietnam

den Boer, Andrea, Hudson, Valerie M. (2017) Patrilineality, Son Preference, and Sex Selection in South Korea and Vietnam. Population and Development Review, 43 (1). pp. 119-147. ISSN 0098-7921. E-ISSN 1728-4457. (doi:10.1111/padr.12041)

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In the mid 2000s, South Korea’s sex ratio at birth returned to normal levels after nearly two decades of significant abnormality; at the same time, the sex ratios at birth in Vietnam began a swift and dramatic rise. What accounts for these contrasting trajectories? We first discuss in general terms the drivers of gender inequality and offspring sex selection in Asia, then turn to a more in-depth examination of the evolution of SRBs in South Korea and Vietnam. Using historical process tracing to analyze censuses, fertility, health and social surveys, as well as state laws and policies, we identify catalyzing pressures leading to sex ratio alteration, as well as countervailing social forces, through historical process-tracing. We then reflect on what can be learned from the experiences of these two nations moving in apparently opposite directions over a fairly short period of time. We find that while both countries have made strides to improve gender equality and raise the status of daughters, only the South Korean government, prodded by civil society actors, has directly and effectively undermined the legal framework buttressing patrilineality, which we find is a key explanatory factor in the decline in son preference in South Korea.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/padr.12041
Uncontrolled keywords: birth sex ratios, gender imbalance, patrilineality, fertility
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Andrea den Boer
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2016 19:57 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 18:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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