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Family Size and Educational Attainment : The Case of China

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  • Li, Honghui
  • Hiwatari, Masato

Abstract

In China, the population policy has been a major item on the political agenda since the early 1970s. Given the importance of human capital as an engine for economic growth, the question of how changes in birth rates affect human capital is particularly important for macroeconomic policy. Extant studies have presented contrasting views on the relationship between the number of children and educational investment in households. Some suggest a negative relationship due to the quantity/quality trade-off occasioned by limited resources within the family, while other studies point out a positive relationship caused by economies of scale. This study empirically analyzes the relationship between the number of children and educational attainment in households in China. More specifically, we estimate the effect of the number of siblings on the number of education years among individuals born since 1970, using the China General Social Survey (CGSS) and the Chinese Household Income Project Survey (CHIP). We estimate the causal impact of the number of siblings by exploiting exogenous variation in the number of siblings caused by family planning policies (“Later, Longer, Fewer”) that started in the early the 1970s. The results support the assertion that the number of siblings has a negative effect on educational attainment in China.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Honghui & Hiwatari, Masato, 2020. "Family Size and Educational Attainment : The Case of China," Discussion paper series. A 353, Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration, Hokkaido University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hok:dpaper:353
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Quantity-quality trade-off; Demographic Economics; Education; Fertility; Family Planning; China;
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