Patterns in Sex Ratios from Villeneuve-sur-Lot, 1610-1711
Rossi, Domenic John
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This study analyzes sex ratios garnered from one hundred and one years of baptismal records from the south-western French town of Villeneuve-sur-Lot, between 1610 and 1711. It is the continuation of a larger project attempting to divine infanticide among married couples in early modern Western Europe. By comparing observed sex ratios (OSRs) in baptisms with the Universal Sex Ratio at Birth (USRB) established by Visaria (1967) it has been suggested a number of times that significant and patterned deviations represent sex-selective infanticide. In the case of Villeneuve, swift shifts between preponderances of girl children and boy children during crises suggest compensatory practice, purposefully engaged in to even out potentially imbalanced sex ratios among adults later. In this way it may be suggested that the preference for boys or girls in Villeneuve over time was balanced, based on circumstance, rather than some inherent perceived value of boys over girls.