Is North India violent because it has a surplus of men?
McDonald, John Malcolm
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The striking predictions presented by Hudson and den Boer in Bare Branches that highly masculine sex ratios tend to have violent consequences find, at best, mixed confirmation in the available Indian data which we have examined. Many of the predicted relationships are too weak to pass the test of statistical significance. A few, most notably the correlation with homicide, are strong and in the predicted direction. Others of nearly equal strength, most notably female suicide rates, are lowest in the most masculine states, the opposite of what was predicted. On the whole, then, the Indian evidence does not support the strong claims that highly masculine sex ratios pose major threats to state security which Hudson and den Boer advance. In addition, we have offered evidence, historical, anthropological and statistical, which has led us to see merit in the argument that political insecurity and the exercise of violence are more reasonably seen as causes, rather than effects, of North India’s masculine sex ratios. In other words, in India at least, it seems to make better sense to invert the causal sequence proposed by Hudson and den Boer and argue that it is because of a deeply embedded history and culture of violence in North India that there is an excess of males, rather than the reverse.