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Child Poverty, Investment In Children And Generational Mobility: The Short And Long Term Wellbeing Of Children In Urban China After The One Child Policy


  • Gordon Anderson
  • Teng Wah Leo


China's One Child Policy (OCP), introduced in 1979, changed fundamentally the nature of both existing and anticipated marriage arrangements and influenced family formation decisions in many dimensions, especially with respect to the number of and investment in children. The policy coincided with the Economic Reforms of 1979 and the trend toward greater urbanization, all of which may have influenced the wellbeing of children. This paper examines the mobility status consequence of children in urban China since the introduction of the OCP and the economic reforms using data drawn from urban household surveys in China. The analysis first makes the comparison between child poverty in Canada, the United Kingdom and urban India, where it was found that both status and trends of child poverty are very different among the countries, with children not being over-represented in the poverty group in urban China. The extent to which the policies influenced investment in children is next examined by studying the way in which the relationship between the educational attainment of children and family characteristics changed within families formed prior to and after 1979. We found that the impact of household income and parental educational attainment increased significantly over time, with a positive gender effect where girls advanced more than boys. Applying new techniques for measuring mobility, we observe the reduction in intergenerational mobility. This phenomenon is found to be particularly prevalent in the lower income quantiles, reinforcing a dynastic notion of poverty. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon Anderson & Teng Wah Leo, 2009. "Child Poverty, Investment In Children And Generational Mobility: The Short And Long Term Wellbeing Of Children In Urban China After The One Child Policy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(s1), pages 607-629, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:55:y:2009:i:s1:p:607-629

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    Cited by:

    1. Qi, Di & Wu, Yichao, 2016. "The extent and risk factors of child poverty in urban China — What can be done for realising the Chinese government goal of eradicating poverty before 2020," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 74-82.
    2. Anderson, Gordon & Farcomeni, Alessio & Pittau, Maria Grazia & Zelli, Roberto, 2016. "A new approach to measuring and studying the characteristics of class membership: Examining poverty, inequality and polarization in urban China," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 191(2), pages 348-359.
    3. Anderson, Gordon & Leo, Teng Wah, 2013. "An empirical examination of matching theories: The one child policy, partner choice and matching intensity in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 468-489.

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