Demographic consequences of choosing male children

I’ve previously “noted”:http://www.inquit.com/article/46/demography-and-destiny the size and slant of demographic changes that are sweeping North Asia. This weekend’s NY Times Review of Books includes a review of a controversial book about the potential legacy of China’s ‘bare branches’. bq. If these young men cannot find wives or jobs or become a viable part of their societies, the book argues, they can pose a threat to internal stability and make governments more likely to create military campaigns to absorb and occupy these youths. (“NY Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/03/books/03SEX.html?pagewanted=print) Critics of this line of argument point out that the impacts of demographic trends do not emerge clear cut from the historical record; there are many compounding factors. It’s a very long reach from the gender imbalance to some of its supposed consequences (e.g. jihadism, or perhaps crusadism). Will a low female-male ratio lead to an improvement or a deterioration in the social status of women? Scarcity seems to suggest the former. Does a preponderance of males imply polyandry? Or is migration more likely? Is there any reason to think that war is a more likely result than an increase in sex tourism? Population growth (from Maddison “The World Economy: 1 – 2001”)


Population growth
YearChinaWest Europe
159.624.7
100059.025.4
1300100.058.4
140072.041.5
1500103.057.3
1820381.0133.0
1913437.1261.0
1950546.8304.9
20011,275.4392.1

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