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Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China

Lena Edlund, Hongbin Li, Junjian Yi () and Junsen Zhang
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Lena Edlund: Columbia University
Hongbin Li: Tsinghua University

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2013, vol. 95, issue 5, 1520-1534

Abstract: Since the introduction of the one-child policy in China in 1979, many more boys than girls have been born, foreshadowing a sizable bride shortage. What do young men unable to find wives do? This paper focuses on criminality, an asocial activity that has seen a marked rise since the mid-1990s. Exploiting province-year level variation, we find an elasticity of crime with respect to the sex ratio of 16- to 25-year-olds of 3.4, suggesting that male sex ratios can account for one-seventh of the rise in crime. We hypothesize that adverse marriage market conditions drive this association. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Keywords: sex ratios; crime; marriage market; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 J13 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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