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Labor Market Conditions and Cultural Change: Evidence from Vietnam

Louise Grogan

Journal of Human Capital, 2018, vol. 12, issue 1, 99 - 124

Abstract: This paper relates strategic parental fertility behavior and early-childhood human capital investments to prospective labor market opportunities in Vietnam. Suitability of land for plow adoption is shown to influence both traditional postmarital residence rules and contemporary under-5 sex ratios. A quasi-natural experiment identifies causal impacts of the sex of a woman’s first-born child on fertility and under-5 mortality across household types with historically different relative productivity of the sexes in agriculture. Impacts vary across household type for rural but not for second-generation urban women. Cultural heterogeneity attributable to relative productivity in preindustrial societies is strongly mitigated by rural-urban migration.

Date: 2018
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