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Upward mobility and the demand for children: Evidence from China

Xiaojun Yang, Qiang Wen, Jie Ma and Jun Li

China Economic Review, 2020, vol. 60, issue C

Abstract: This paper aims to investigate a new determinant of the demand for children: upward mobility. Upward mobility can affect the demand for children in two opposite directions: upward mobility means more resources to spend on childbearing and increases the demand for children; it also lowers the need to rely on children for old-age support and this leads to lower demand for children. In this paper, we use the difference between the subject's self-evaluations of the future and current social class as the measure of upward mobility, and fertility desire to represent the demand for children. Using the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) data, we find that upward mobility significantly increases the demand for children, and the results are robust across various model specifications (pooled data regression, Poisson regression, and IV regression). The effect is concentrated among affluent and/or urban households, suggesting that those from more advantaged social-economic backgrounds appear to have a higher elasticity of fertility in response to upward mobility. Our results imply that improving upward mobility and public services such as education, health care, and social security would be effective to boost fertility in China.

Keywords: Upward mobility; Fertility; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2019.101393

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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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