The Impact of Institutional Reform from 1979 to 1987 on Fertility in Rural China
This empirical study brings together data on the local timing of the rural household responsibility system (HRS) reforms in China from 1979 to 1987, and assesses the association of the local reforms with individual parity-specific fertility changes as measured in the in-depth-fertility survey. Fertility appears to have increased slightly in 1982-84, but declined in 1985-87, in the wake of these significant economic reforms. It is hypothesized that the reforms increased the private monetary and opportunity cost of childbearing, intensified market competition for the adoption of new production technologies that encouraged parents to better educate their children, while increasing the mobility of the rural labor force and thereby discouraging and delaying childbearing among rural Chinese.
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