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Can Government Enforcement Permanently Alter Fertility? The Case of China


  • Scotese, Carol
  • Wang, Ping


The authors quantitatively assess the main sources of fertility fluctuations in China and find that only preference shifts, involving education, health care, and the employment and social status of women, can generate a statistically significant long-run decline in fertility growth. However, the government's enforcement power can explain some short-run movements in fertility. To examine the effect of key variables, the authors modify a growth model with endogenous fertility to represent the average rural household's fertility decisions under government imposed constraints. The model provides the structure necessary to econometrically identify shocks to government enforcement ability, agricultural output, and preferences toward fertility. Copyright 1995 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Scotese, Carol & Wang, Ping, 1995. "Can Government Enforcement Permanently Alter Fertility? The Case of China," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(4), pages 552-570, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:33:y:1995:i:4:p:552-70

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    9. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
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    12. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    13. George A. Akerlof & Lawrence F. Katz, 1989. "Workers' Trust Funds and the Logic of Wage Profiles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 525-536.
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    Cited by:

    1. M. Merli & Herbert Smith, 2002. "Has the Chinese family planning policy been successful in changing fertility preferences?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(3), pages 557-572, August.
    2. Yuhua Shi & Jie Zhang, 2009. "On high fertility rates in developing countries: birth limits, birth taxes, or education subsidies?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 603-640, July.
    3. Hai Fang & Karen Eggleston & John Rizzo & Richard Zeckhauser, 2013. "Jobs and kids: female employment and fertility in China," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-25, December.
    4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:15:y:2007:i:8:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Frederic Tournemaine, 2007. "Can population promote income per-capita growth? A balanced perspective," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(8), pages 1-7.
    6. Yun Liang & John Gibson, 2017. "Location or Hukou: What Most Limits Fertility of Urban Women in China?," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 527-540, September.
    7. J. Wilson Mixon Jr. & Gary H. Roseman, 2003. "Male-Female Life Expectancy and Economic Freedom," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 19(Fall 2003), pages 1-20.
    8. Hai Fang & Karen N. Eggleston & John A. Rizzo & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2010. "Jobs and Kids: Female Employment and Fertility in Rural China," NBER Working Papers 15886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Fang, Hai & Eggleston, Karen N. & Rizzo, John A. & Zeckhauser, Richard Jay, 2010. "Female Employment and Fertility in Rural China," Scholarly Articles 4449097, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

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