Traditional agriculture practices and the sex ratio today

PLoS ONE Vol/Iss. 13(1) Public Library of Science Published In Pages: 1-14
By Alesina, Alberto, Giuliano, Paola, Nunn, Nathan


This study investigates the relationship between historical utilization of the plow and modern sex ratios. The authors argue that in societies without the plow subsistence is generally egalitarian with both men and women contributing. However, the use of the plow requires more physical strength which, they argue, leads to a preference for boys and, thus, men. Therefore, in cultures that use the plow, this is reflected in male-biased sex ratios which are negotiated by way of practices like sex-selective abortions, infanticide, and/or differential access to resources based on sex.


The methodology of this study is fairly unusual in the ways it uses traditional cultural data to predict attributes of present-day countries.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Ethnographic Atlas (EA)by other researchers
Ethnologue: Languages of the Worldby other researchers
UN Demographic Yearbookby other researchers

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:dmccloskey103 anj.droe