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Soil endowments, production technologies and missing women in India

The female population deficit in India has been explained in a number of ways, but the great heterogeneity in the deficit across districts within India still remains an open question. This paper argues that across India, a largely agrarian economy, soil texture varies exogenously and determines the workability of the soil and the technology used in land preparation. Deep tillage, possible only in lighter and looser loamy soils, reduces the use of labor in cultivation tasks performed by women and has a negative impact on the relative value of girls to a household. The analysis finds that soil texture explains a large part of the variation in women's relative participation in agriculture and in infant sex ratios across districts in India.

Source: Soil endowments, production technologies and missing women in India

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