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Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People’s Republic of China

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  • Shang-Jin Wei
  • Xiaobo Zhang

Abstract

China experiences an increasingly severe relative surplus of men in the pre-marital age cohort. The existing literature on its consequences focuses mostly on negative aspects such as crime. In this paper, we provide evidence that the imbalance may also stimulate economic growth by inducing more entrepreneurship and hard work. First, new domestic private firms – an important engine of growth – are more likely to emerge from regions with a higher sex ratio imbalance. Second, the likelihood for parents with a son to be entrepreneurs rises with the local sex ratio. Third, households with a son in regions with a more skewed sex ratio demonstrate a greater willingness to accept relatively dangerous or unpleasant jobs and supply more work days. In contrast, the labor supply pattern by households with a daughter is unrelated to the sex ratio. Finally, regional GDP tends to grow faster in provinces with a higher sex ratio. Since the sex ratio imbalance will become worse in the near future, this growth effect is likely to persist.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16800.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16800

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References

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  1. Hongbin LI & Hui ZHENG, 2009. "Ultrasonography and Sex Ratios in China," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(1), pages 121-137.
  2. Edlund, Lena & Li, Hongbin & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2007. "Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 3214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511 - 564.
  4. Hopkins, Ed & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2008. "Which Inequality? The Inequality of Endowments Versus the Inequality of Rewards," SIRE Discussion Papers 2008-13, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  5. Hongbin Li & Zheyu Yang & Xianguo Yao & Junsen Zhang, 2009. "Entrepreneurship and Growth: Evidence from China," Discussion Papers 00022, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  6. Franco Modigliani & Shi Larry Cao, 2004. "The Chinese Saving Puzzle and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 145-170, March.
  7. Erwin Bulte & Nico Heerink & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "China's One‐Child Policy and ‘the Mystery of Missing Women’: Ethnic Minorities and Male‐Biased Sex Ratios," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 73(1), pages 21-39, 02.
  8. Du, Qingyuang & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2012. "A Darwinian Perspective on "Exchange Rate Undervaluation"," CEPR Discussion Papers 8872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Mu, Ren & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Why does the Great Chinese Famine affect the male and female survivors differently? Mortality selection versus son preference," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 92-105, January.
  10. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285, August.
  11. Bhaskar, V, 2010. "Sex selection and gender balance," MPRA Paper 22698, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," ESE Discussion Papers 92, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  13. Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang, 2007. "Do High Birth Rates Hamper Economic Growth?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 110-117, February.
  14. Emily Oster, 2005. "Hepatitis B and the Case of the Missing Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1163-1216, December.
  15. Avraham Ebenstein, 2011. "Estimating a Dynamic Model of Sex Selection in China," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 783-811, May.
  16. Ming-Jen Lin & Ming-Ching Luoh, 2008. "Can Hepatitis B Mothers Account for the Number of Missing Women? Evidence from Three Million Newborns in Taiwan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2259-73, December.
  17. Monica Das Gupta, 2005. "Explaining Asia's "Missing Women": A New Look at the Data," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(3), pages 529-535.
  18. Qingyuan Du & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "A Sexually Unbalanced Model of Current Account Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 16000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ed Hopkins (University of Edinburgh) and V. Bhaskar (University College London), 2011. "Marriage as a Rat Race: Noisy Pre-Marital Investments with Assortative Matching," ESE Discussion Papers 210, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  2. Douglas Almond & Hongbin Li & Shuang Zhang, 2013. "Land Reform and Sex Selection in China," NBER Working Papers 19153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Qingyuan Du & Shang-Jin Wei, 2013. "A Theory of the Competitive Saving Motive," NBER Working Papers 18911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang & Yin Liu, 2012. "Status Competition and Housing Prices," NBER Working Papers 18000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Weiss, Yoram & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2013. "Hypergamy, Cross-Boundary Marriages, and Family Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 7293, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Wang, Daili, 2013. "鼓励还是抑制?初探外商直接投资与新民营企业进入
    [Foreign Direct Investment and the Entry of New Firms]
    ," MPRA Paper 50984, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "Gender 'Rebalancing' in China: A Global-Level Analysis," CAMA Working Papers 2012-46, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

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