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Do Population Control Policies Induce More Human Capital Investment? Twins, Birthweight, and China's 'One Child' Policy

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Author Info

  • Rosenzweig, Mark R.

    ()
    (Yale University)

  • Zhang, Junsen

    ()
    (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

In this paper we use a new data set describing households with and without twin children in China to quantify the trade-off between the quality and quantity of children using the incidence of twins that for the first time takes into account effects associated with the lower birthweight and closer-spacing of twins compared to singleton births. We show that examining the effects of twinning by birth order, net of the effects stemming from the birthweight deficit of twins, can provide upper and lower bounds on the trade-off between family size and average child quality. Our estimates indicate that, at least in one area of China, an extra child at parity one or at parity two, net of birthweight effects, significantly decreases the schooling progress, the expected college enrollment, grades in school and the assessed health of all children in the family. We also show that estimates of the effects of twinning at higher parities on the outcomes of older children in prior studies do not identify family size effects but are confounded by inter-child allocation effects because of the birthweight deficit of twins. Despite the evident significant trade-off between number of children and child quality in China, however, the findings suggest that the contribution of the one-child policy in China to the development of its human capital was modest.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2082.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2082

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Keywords: family size; birthweight; twins; schooling; China;

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  1. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Life-Cycle Labor Supply and Fertility: Causal Inferences from Household Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 328-48, April.
  2. S Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Childrens Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0050, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  3. Nancy Qian, 2010. "Quantity-Quality and the One Child Policy: The Only-Child Disadvantage in School Enrollment in Rural China," Working Papers id:2558, eSocialSciences.
  4. Dennis Tao Yang & Marjorie McElroy, 2000. "Carrots and Sticks: Fertility Effects of China's Population Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 389-392, May.
  5. Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor & Schlosser, Analia, 2006. "New Evidence on the Causal Link between the Quantity and Quality of Children," CEPR Discussion Papers 5668, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
  9. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  10. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Demand for Sons: Evidence from Divorce, Fertility, and Shotgun Marriage," NBER Working Papers 10281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Behrman, Jere R & Pollak, Robert A & Taubman, Paul, 1982. "Parental Preferences and Provision for Progeny," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(1), pages 52-73, February.
  12. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
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