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China's Sex Ratio and Crime: Behavioral Change or Financial Necessity?

Author

Listed:
  • Cameron, Lisa A.

    () (University of Melbourne)

  • Meng, Xin

    () (Australian National University)

  • Zhang, Dandan

    () (Peking University)

Abstract

This paper uses survey and experimental data from prison inmates and comparable non-inmates to examine the drivers of rising criminality in China. Consistent with socio-biological research on other species, we find that China's high sex-ratios are associated with greater risk-taking and impatience amongst males. These underlying behavioral impacts explain some part of the increase in criminality. The primary avenue through which the sex-ratio increases crime, however, is the direct pressure on men to appear financially attractive in order to find a partner in the marriage market. These marriage market pressures result in a higher propensity to commit financially rewarding crimes.

Suggested Citation

  • Cameron, Lisa A. & Meng, Xin & Zhang, Dandan, 2016. "China's Sex Ratio and Crime: Behavioral Change or Financial Necessity?," IZA Discussion Papers 9747, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9747
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uri Gneezy & Alex Imas & John List, 2015. "Estimating Individual Ambiguity Aversion: A Simple Approach," Artefactual Field Experiments 00588, The Field Experiments Website.
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    3. Jean Drèze & Reetika Khera, 2000. "Crime, Gender, and Society in India: Insights from Homicide Data," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(2), pages 335-352, June.
    4. Gary Solon & Steven J. Haider & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2015. "What Are We Weighting For?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 301-316.
    5. Edlund, Lena & Li, Hongbin & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2007. "Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 3214, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; marriage markets; risk-taking; time preferences; sex-ratio; one child policy; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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