A study released yesterday of prospective adoptive parents found a big, fat quantifiable preference for girls. A team of CalTech economists found, looking at one online adoption agency over a five-year period, that girls were one-third more likely to attract the attention of adoptive parents than boys – and remember, economists are willing to ask some of the creepy questions that the rest of us might feel dirty for even wondering – parents were willing to pay $16,000 more in finalization costs to adopt a girl than a boy. This is all somewhat surprising because biological parents, when they do use ultrasound and abortion to choose a kid's sex, sent her adopted seven-year-old back to Russia after he threatened to burn down the house. Absent a man's desire for a biological male heir, or the difficulties facing parents of girls in hard-core patriarchal societies, do the perils and headaches of raising boys just seem too daunting? I'm no expert on this, and reluctant to draw conclusions from either the sex selection or the adoption data, but I do wonder what the findings might reveal about the way we view both boys and girls -- even before we've ever met them. What do you think?