CIRHR Directors Debate Series

Is There Still Son Preference in the United States?

A presentation by

Lawrence M. Kahn
Cornell University, IZA, CESifo, and NCER (Australia)


Friday, November 16, 2018
Location: CIRHR room 205 , 121 St George St

kahn poster nov16Kahn seminar Nov16









“Is There Still Son Preference in the United States?” by Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn, Peter Brummund, Jason Cook, and Miriam Larson-Koester

Using 2008-2013 American Community Survey data, we study son preference for the United States. For the overall population and for natives separately, a female first child raises the likelihood of single female headship, but, unlike in previous work, it is associated with lower rather than higher fertility. This casts doubt on son preference as the explanation for the female headship results. For immigrants, consistent with son preference, a female first child raises both female headship and fertility and, moreover, the impact on fertility is more positive for immigrants from countries with a lower status of women.

IZA Discussion Paper (63 pages, PDF)

Speaker Bio

Lawrence M. Kahn is the Braunstein Family Professor and Professor of Economics at Cornell University. He is an elected Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists. He is a Research Fellow of the Center for Economic Studies/Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich, Germany, of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany, and of the National Centre for Econometric Research in Australia (Sportometrics Program). He was Chair of the Labor Economics Department at Cornell during 1998-99 and 2000-2005, is Co-Editor of the ILR Review, is on the editorial board of the Journal of Sports Economics, served as Associate Editor of the Industrial & Labor Relations Review and Specialized Co-Editor (for Sports Economics) of Economic Inquiry and was on the Board of Editors of Industrial Relations. Before joining the Cornell faculty in 1994, he was a Professor of Economics and Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois. He has served as Visiting Fellow in the Economics Department of Princeton University, Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York, Visiting Scholar at the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Visiting Scholar at the Office of Labour Market Policy Evaluation in Uppsala, Sweden, and Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. He has also served as a member of the National Academy Sciences Committee on Women’s Employment and Related Social Issues.

Professor Kahn’s research interests include international differences in labor market institutions and labor market outcomes such as wage inequality, unemployment, and the gender pay gap. In addition, he has had a long term interest in sports labor markets and is currently also conducting research on immigration and the labor market.

He has published articles in the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, International Economic Review, the Economic Journal, Economica, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and the Journal of Labor Economics. His book At Home and Abroad: U.S. Labor Market Performance in International Perspective (with Francine D. Blau), published by the Russell Sage Foundation, won the Richard A. Lester Prize, awarded by the Princeton University Industrial Relations Section for the Outstanding Book in Labor Economics and Industrial Relations published in 2002.