Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The young men of China

There was an interesting comment on this blog a couple of days ago by Aimee.

She wrote:

"In terms of rising political unrest, I think this might have been inevitable regardless of the economic downturn. With an incredibly large population of young men who are uneducated and cannot find jobs or wives (guang gen), demands for an alternative were bound to happen."

As economists I think we are often guilty of missing the effect of non-economic factors.

China's population is large. But it always has been. There have always been large numbers of young men - are their relatively more now? Is the shortage of wives a relatively new phenomenon resulting from the unequal birth rates between boys and girls and just how unequal is it? Surely there are relatively "less" uneducated young men as the education system improves?

These questions deserve more attention especially in the context of possible political unrest.


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