January 31, 2023 | News | Research Funding

ERC Grant for Joshua Wilde


​​​​​​Joshua Wilde receives a 1.94 million Euro grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to conduct the project “Natural Sex Ratios at Birth and Missing Women: New Evidence and Implications”. 

Explaining variation in sex-ratios at birth has been a fascination of social scientists since the 1600s. It is also a priority for policy makers, as changes in sex-ratios at birth often indicate sex-selective abortion and discrimination against women and girls. Over the past 50 years, a general consensus among demographers has emerged, that sex ratios at birth are mostly constant at 105 male births per 100 females across groups, with only small variations by race or ethnicity.

“In this project, I challenge the long-held belief that sex ratios at birth are a biological constant within groups, and explore implications of this finding,” says Joshua Wilde.

Newer biological literature suggests that maternal condition may induce male conceptions to be lost at higher rates. These two literatures are in direct contradiction to each other, as the biological literature suggests that chronic indicators of maternal stress should be associated with heterogeneous sex ratios at birth, which is generally not found in large population datasets.

“I have identified two statistical issues that have been common to all previous analyses. I propose using new data sources and new methodologies to overcome these issues,” says Joshua Wilde.

Joshua Wilde, until December 2022 a research scientist and currently a guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPDIR) in Rostock, Germany, will lead this project. To implement this research project, he receives a European Research Council Consolidator Grant of 1.94 million Euro, providing funding for 5 years.

The Consolidator Grants are awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) to researchers of any nationality with 7 to 12 years of experience since completion of PhD, a scientific track record showing great promise and an excellent research proposal. This year 321 researchers were awarded over 657 million Euro, with grants being worth up to 2 Million Euro each.

More Information

ERC Consolidator Grants 2023


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Affiliate Researcher

Joshua Wilde


The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.