Research Reports

Social Economic Policy Analysis with regard to Son Preference and GBSS - Summary
Thursday, 26 September, 2019

This study explores the factors behind the improvements in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) in Georgia over the last 15 years. It combines quantitative and qualitative analysis. Focus groups, in-depth interviews, and econometric analysis have highlighted the following determinants of SRB improvements: improved economic conditions, reduced poverty, increasing the economic share of the service sector (creating new job opportunities for women in banking, retail trade, and other
office-related jobs), higher female employment (outside the agricultural sector), increased male educational attainment, and changes in socio-cultural and gender value systems. There is, however, insufficient evidence to suggest social policy
measures have had a significant impact in reducing Gender Biased Sex Selection (GBSS).

Georgia experienced a significant rise in SRB after its independence from the Soviet Union. It is among twelve countries worldwide, where strong statistical evidence of sex imbalances at birth is observed. The other countries being Albania,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong (SAR of China), India, the Republic of Korea, Montenegro, Taiwan (Province of China), Tunisia, and Vietnam.

It is generally accepted that the biological norm for sex ratio is around 105 male births per 100 female births (UNFPA, 2015). Since 1992, deteriorating economic conditions, coupled with a strong son preference, low total fertility rates, and access to affordable reproductive technologies have contributed to the increasing trend, one that lasted for almost 15 years, of an SRB imbalance in Georgia (via sex-selective abortions). Since 2004, SRB has been experiencing a reverse trend, reaching a normal level in 2016 (see Figure 1). The aim of this study is to investigate the various factors behind such a change.