Tuesday, 20 April 2010

"Female Employment and Fertility in Rural China"

Interesting new NBER paper. The results have potentially important implications for China's one child policy. Note that female employment which is growing rapidly reduces the probability of having more that one child significantly.

One possible implication is that by encouraging female participation the one child policy could be phased out over time. Korea has no such policy and a birth rate comparable to China's with the policy.

"Female Employment and Fertility in Rural China"

NBER Working Paper No. w15886

HAI FANG, University of Miami
KAREN EGGLESTON, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - International Institute
JOHN A. RIZZO, Stony Brook University - Department of Economics and Department of Preventative Medicine
RICHARD J. ZECKHAUSER, Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government,

Data on 2,288 married women from the 2006 China Health and Nutrition Survey are deployed to study how off-farm female employment affects fertility. Such employment reduces a married woman’s actual number of children by 0.64, her preferred number by 0.48, and her probability of having more than one child by 54.8 percent. Causality flows in both directions; hence, we use well validated instrumental variables to estimate employment status. China has deep concerns with both female employment and population size. Moreover, female employment is growing quickly. Hence, its implications for fertility must be understood. Ramifications for China’s one-child policy are discussed.


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