One-Child Policy, Differential Fertility, and Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality in China

31 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2020 Last revised: 9 Jun 2021

See all articles by Yewen Yu

Yewen Yu

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management

Yi Fan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Real Estate

Junjian Yi

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

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Date Written: May 18, 2021

Abstract

Using nationally representative longitudinal household survey data, this study finds that China’s one-child policy (OCP), one of the most extreme forms of birth control in recorded history, has amplified the intergenerational transmission of inequality in the country. Rural/poor Chinese families, whose fertility choices are less constrained by the OCP than those of urban/rich ones, have more children but invest less in their human capital. Since education is a major determinant of earnings, income inequality persists and increases across generations. Our results also show that the OCP accounts for 35.4%–51.5% of the decline in intergenerational income mobility in recent decades.

Keywords: One-child policy; Intergenerational transmission of inequality; Child quantity–quality trade-off; Differential fertility

JEL Classification: J13, J62

Suggested Citation

Yu, Yewen and Fan, Yi and Yi, Junjian, One-Child Policy, Differential Fertility, and Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality in China (May 18, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3677016 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3677016

Yewen Yu

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management ( email )

Peking University
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Yi Fan (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Real Estate ( email )

United States

Junjian Yi

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Arts Link, AS2 #06-02
Singapore 117570, Singapore 119077
Singapore

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