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Chowdhury, Mridul K. (1994). Mother's Education and Effect of Son Preference on Fertility in Matlab, Bangladesh. Population Research and Policy Review, 13(3), 257-273.


This analysis follows earlier research that hypothesized and substantiated that, in a society with strong son preference, its effect on fertility would be conditional on the level of contraceptive use. Present analysis of the prospective fertility experience of 22,819 women of reproductive age during 3.5 years in Matlab, Bangladesh, shows that this effect is higher among mothers with postprimary schooling versus those with primary or no education. The higher effect conforms with the known positive relationship of contraceptive use with maternal schooling. However, this increase when contrasted with the idea that education promotes modern values, including gender equality, suggests that education in Matlab, with its traditional slant, is not resistant to son preference. In a poor, traditional society with low status for women, schooling alone is not enough to motivate women to abandon low esteem for daughters though schooling promotes child survival. But if preference for smaller family size increases, promoted by education including such modern values as gender equality, then sex preference, although it cannot be completely removed, will have minimal effect on fertility as in most developed countries.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Population Research and Policy Review


Chowdhury, Mridul K.