Testing Fisherian Adaptive Sex Ratio Hypothesis: A Famine-Based Natural Experimental Approach

Shige Song, Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY)

In 1930, Fisher made the argument that natural selection adjusts the sex ratio at birth such that in populations of skewed sex ratios, more infants of the minority sex are born. However, given the complexities of the human family and marriage system and the long lag between birth and sexual maturation, Fisher’s original formulation of the argument does not directly lead to any testable empirical hypotheses among humans. The proposed study will elaborate and operationalize Fisherian adaptive sex ratio hypothesis and test it using the 1959-1961 Chinese Great Leap Forward Famine as a natural experiment.

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Presented in Session 10: The Long-Term Impact of Famines and Environmental Shocks