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China's Sex Ratio and Crime: Behavioral Change or Financial Necessity?

Lisa Cameron (), Xin Meng () and Dandan Zhang ()
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Dandan Zhang: Peking University

No 9747, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: This paper uses survey and experimental data from prison inmates and comparable non-inmates to examine the drivers of rising criminality in China. Consistent with socio-biological research on other species, we find that China's high sex-ratios are associated with greater risk-taking and impatience amongst males. These underlying behavioral impacts explain some part of the increase in criminality. The primary avenue through which the sex-ratio increases crime, however, is the direct pressure on men to appear financially attractive in order to find a partner in the marriage market. These marriage market pressures result in a higher propensity to commit financially rewarding crimes.

Keywords: crime; marriage markets; risk-taking; time preferences; sex-ratio; one child policy; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O12 J12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna, nep-law and nep-tra
Date: 2016-02
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Journal Article: China's Sex Ratio and Crime: Behavioural Change or Financial Necessity? (2019) Downloads
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