Professor Sonia Bhalotra was awarded The Conversation Award for the most downloaded social science article this year at the recent Research Impact Awards at the University of Essex.
Sonia’s article ‘When gold prices go up, so does the cost of a dowry – and baby girl survival rates in India fall’ had been downloaded over 50,000 times since publication last September.
The prize was presented by Will Moy, Director of Full Fact, who gave the key note address at the Awards Ceremony on 4th June.
Sonia’s article described her recent research looking at monthly data on international gold prices between 1972 and 2005 with monthly birth cohort data, and analysed whether gold price changes influenced the sex ratio at birth and the survival of a newborn girl up to the age of one month. Using this large data set with more than 100,000 births, the researchers found found that in months where the gold price went up, the chances of a girl surviving through the neonatal period were significantly lower than for boys. In fact, gold price inflation was correlated with an improved survival chance for boys.