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Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China

Author

Listed:
  • Lena Edlund

    (Columbia University)

  • Hongbin Li

    (Tsinghua University)

  • Junjian Yi

    (University of Chicago)

  • Junsen Zhang

    (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

Since the introduction of the one-child policy in China in 1979, many more boys than girls have been born, foreshadowing a sizable bride shortage. What do young men unable to find wives do? This paper focuses on criminality, an asocial activity that has seen a marked rise since the mid-1990s. Exploiting province-year level variation, we find an elasticity of crime with respect to the sex ratio of 16- to 25-year-olds of 3.4, suggesting that male sex ratios can account for one-seventh of the rise in crime. We hypothesize that adverse marriage market conditions drive this association. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Suggested Citation

  • Lena Edlund & Hongbin Li & Junjian Yi & Junsen Zhang, 2013. "Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1520-1534, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:5:p:1520-1534
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    Keywords

    sex ratios; crime; marriage market; China;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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