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Female Employment and Fertility in Rural China


  • Fang, Hai
  • Eggleston, Karen N.
  • Rizzo, John A.
  • Zeckhauser, Richard Jay


Data on 2,288 married women from the 2006 China Health and Nutrition Survey are deployed to study how off-farm female employment affects fertility. Such employment reduces a married woman’s actual number of children by 0.64, her preferred number by 0.48, and her probability of having more than one child by 54.8 percent. Causality flows in both directions; hence, we use well validated instrumental variables to estimate employment status. China has deep concerns with both female employment and population size. Moreover, female employment is growing quickly. Hence, its implications for fertility must be understood. Ramifications for China’s one-child policy are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:4449097

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Bhalla, Surjit & Kaur, Ravinder, 2011. "Labour force participation of women in India: some facts, some queries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 38367, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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