I only had the chance to skim it, and some of the charts don't appear to be showing up well on my browser? But I'll try again later and there's a chance that there's just a problem on my end.

From what I could see, though, this was a really good analytical deep dive into the scope of the issues, and the maps (which did render well in my browser) are very impressive looking. It's kind of a downer of a topic but an important one, so I hope your work gets some exposure.

Fwiw there does appear to be a couple other countries with skewed sex ratios, most especially Armenia/Georgia and Azerbaijan, but also Papua New Guinea, Suriname, Vietnam and some of the countries in the Balkans. For a more positive story, it appears to be the case that South Korea used to have as much of a problem as China but they have been able to largely reverse it.

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Thank you. The GIFs are all 1+ MB in size, so I assume it is just Substack slowness. You can find all the media, including an index spreadsheet in https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1Sq2DQpH-DEEQJ642WNEuxi12KxCZlKPs

OWD has a great report about this topic, that is both in depth and spanning many different countries: https://ourworldindata.org/gender-ratio

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Yeah it was just slow-loading that morning for some reason. Too many tabs, lol.

Btw I just checked the CDC numbers for babies born to Indian immigrant mothers in the United States and the ratio is about 1.07. For Chinese-born mothers the sex ratio at birth is 1.11 in the US. From what I see on OWD those numbers are both the same as the country-of-origin numbers

Reading through your post again I realize I don't understand an even more basic and fundamental thing than the sex ratio - why has India been developing so fast over the past couple decades? Are there any commonly accepted reasons for infant mortality to be dropping and GDP to be rising so fast?

I realize this is happening in most countries of the world but then I also realized I don't really understand if there's a good "why". I also know this is a ridiculously general and potentially controversial question, so I won't be too surprised if you don't want to answer. But I thought you might be a good person to ask for a perspective rather than a random Google search or ChatGPT.

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Jun 22, 2023·edited Jun 22, 2023Author

Not only is GDP considered as one of the best metrics to measure development, I think some economists also consider a goal to increase it as sufficient for development. At least for developing countries, this is useful when thinking about the growth vs inequality debate, as well as to prioritize policies and projects that might grow the economy.

Unlike many other countries including the US, India hasn't had a recession since 1980[1]. Growth rate can be thought of as an indirect reason for the improvements in life expectancy, IMR, MMR, etc. We can afford better health outcomes when we are richer.

India was quite socialist in the 20th century, with heavily centralized economic planning. It resulted in lukewarm or negative outcomes. After a couple of failed attempts, starting in 1991 there were successful reforms to liberalize the Indian economy[2] including opening it up for foreign direct investment. This was a major turning point in our economic history.

Globalization also started taking off in the 90s. Despite all the negative impacts in pockets of developed countries (including the US), this was a big boon for India and several other developing countries.

Regardless of any other policy differences, successive Indian governments have not changed the direction of the economy much. India has also been fortunate in remaining free, peaceful, and stable throughout this period, allowing both domestic and foreign businesses to continue investing with some confidence.

Catch up growth is considered to be easier, but even it can't be taken for granted. Economic development is largely an open challenge. You might be interested in Noah Smith's series of essays on developing nations[3], including one on India[4].

[1] https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/gdp-per-capita-maddison-2020?tab=chart&yScale=log&time=1950..latest&country=USA~IND

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalisation_in_India

[3] https://www.noahpinion.blog/p/the-developing-country-industrialization

[4] https://www.noahpinion.blog/p/can-india-industrialize

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Thank you. That's a lot of history I didn't know. The Noahpinion ones were pretty good reads, also

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