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Does the one-child policy improve children's human capital in urban China? A regression discontinuity design

Xuezheng Qin (), Castiel Chen Zhuang and Rudai Yang

Journal of Comparative Economics, 2017, vol. 45, issue 2, 287-303

Abstract: This paper is the first to examine the causal relationship between China's One-Child Policy (OCP) and the long-term accumulation of human capital by a regression discontinuity design. Based on the 2005 China Inter-census Survey data, we observe a strong policy shock upon the probability of being a single child among people born around the starting point of OCP, which in turn significantly increases their educational attainment in adulthood. The results strongly suggest that there exists a quantity-quality trade-off as renewed by Becker, and the trade-off is more pronounced in the economically less developed regions and among families with the same-sex children. The results shed light on the re-understanding of China's family planning initiative as well as the application of regression discontinuity designs.

Keywords: One-child policy; Quantity-quality trade-off; Regression discontinuity design; Human capital (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 D13 I24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:2:p:287-303