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The Effect of Family Size on Education: New Evidence from China's One Child Policy

Author

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  • Argys, Laura M.

    () (University of Colorado Denver)

  • Averett, Susan L.

    () (Lafayette College)

Abstract

Social scientists theorize that the inverse relationship between socio-economic status and family size represents a trade-off between the quality and quantity of children. Evaluating this hypothesis empirically requires addressing the simultaneity of the quality and quantity decisions. Researchers have used the unanticipated birth of twins as exogenous variation in family size or the sex composition of the first two children as an instrument for family size with mixed results. We exploit a different source of exogenous variation in family size. The One Child Policy (OCP) in China dramatically reduced Chinese fertility and we examine how the OCP has affected the educational attainment of Chinese migrants to the U.S. Using data from the American Community Survey (2009-2012) and a difference-in-differences strategy our results support the quality-quantity tradeoff theory. We find that education increased more for Chinese migrants born after the OCP than their counterparts from other East Asian countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Argys, Laura M. & Averett, Susan L., 2015. "The Effect of Family Size on Education: New Evidence from China's One Child Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 9196, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9196
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 143-162, August.
    2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700.
    3. Gary S. Becker & H. Gregg Lewis, 1974. "Interaction between Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 81-90, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang & Yi Zhu, 2008. "The quantity-Quality trade-Off of children In a developing country: Identification using chinese twins," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(1), pages 223-243, February.
    5. Daniel L. Millimet & Le Wang, 2011. "Is the Quantity-Quality Trade-Off a Trade-Off for All, None, or Some?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 155-195.
    6. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
    7. Jungmin Lee, 2008. "Sibling size and investment in children’s education: an asian instrument," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(4), pages 855-875, October.
    8. Haoming Liu, 2014. "The quality–quantity trade-off: evidence from the relaxation of China’s one-child policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(2), pages 565-602, April.
    9. Vladimir Ponczek & Andre Portela Souza, 2012. "New Evidence of the Causal Effect of Family Size on Child Quality in a Developing Country," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(1), pages 64-106.
    10. Christina Peters & Daniel I Rees & Rey Hernández-Julián, 2013. "The Trade-off between Family Size and Child Health in Rural Bangladesh," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 71-95, December.
    11. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2010. "Multiple Experiments for the Causal Link between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 773-824, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lu, Di, 2018. "China’s Selective Two-Child Policy and Its Impact on the Marriage Market," Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181586, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; migration; quality-quantity tradeoff; family size; One Child Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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