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Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People's Republic of China

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  • Shang-Jin Wei
  • Xiaobo Zhang

Abstract

China experiences an increasingly severe relative surplus of men in the pre-marital age cohort. The existing literature on its consequences focuses mostly on negative aspects such as crime. In this paper, we provide evidence that the imbalance may also stimulate economic growth by inducing more entrepreneurship and hard work. First, new domestic private firms - an important engine of growth - are more likely to emerge from regions with a higher sex ratio imbalance. Second, the likelihood for parents with a son to be entrepreneurs rises with the local sex ratio. Third, households with a son in regions with a more skewed sex ratio demonstrate a greater willingness to accept relatively dangerous or unpleasant jobs and supply more work days. In contrast, the labor supply pattern by households with a daughter is unrelated to the sex ratio. Finally, regional GDP tends to grow faster in provinces with a higher sex ratio. Since the sex ratio imbalance will become worse in the near future, this growth effect is likely to persist.

Suggested Citation

  • Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 16800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16800
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zheng, Liang & Zhao, Zhong, 2017. "What drives spatial clusters of entrepreneurship in China? Evidence from economic census data," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 229-248.
    2. Du, Qingyuan & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2016. "A Darwinian perspective on “exchange rate undervaluation”," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 111-138.
    3. V. Bhaskar & Ed Hopkins, 2016. "Marriage as a Rat Race: Noisy Premarital Investments with Assortative Matching," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(4), pages 992-1045.
    4. Charles Yuji Horioka & Akiko Terada-Hagiwara, 2017. "The impact of sex ratios before marriage on household saving in two Asian countries: The competitive saving motive revisited," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 739-757, September.
    5. Han, Xuehui & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2017. "Re-examining the middle-income trap hypothesis (MITH): What to reject and what to revive?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PA), pages 41-61.
    6. Chen, Xi, 2017. "Does Daughter Deficit Promote Parental Substance Use? Longitudinal Evidence on Smoking from Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 10860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Du, Qingyuan & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2013. "A theory of the competitive saving motive," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 275-289.
    8. Weiss, Yoram & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2013. "Hypergamy, Cross-Boundary Marriages, and Family Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 7293, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Xinshen Diao & Margaret McMillan & Dani Rodrik, 2017. "The Recent Growth Boom in Developing Economies: A Structural Change Perspective," NBER Working Papers 23132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Shenggen Fan & Ravi Kanbur & Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2013. "The Economics of China: Successes and Challenges," NBER Working Papers 19648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511-564.
    12. repec:eee:socmed:v:202:y:2018:i:c:p:61-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Wei, Shang-Jin, 2011. "The renminbi’s role in the global monetary system - commentary," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov, pages 199-206.
    14. Ding, Weili & Zhang, Yuan, 2014. "When a son is born: The impact of fertility patterns on family finance in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 192-208.
    15. Huasheng Gao & Yaheng Lin & Yujing Ma, 2016. "Sex Discrimination and Female Top Managers: Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 138(4), pages 683-702, November.
    16. Douglas Almond & Hongbin Li & Shuang Zhang, 2013. "Land Reform and Sex Selection in China," NBER Working Papers 19153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "Gender 'Rebalancing' in China: A Global-Level Analysis," CAMA Working Papers 2012-46, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    18. Wang, Daili, 2013. "鼓励还是抑制?初探外商直接投资与新民营企业进入
      [Foreign Direct Investment and the Entry of New Firms]
      ," MPRA Paper 50984, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Fei Wang & Liqiu Zhao & Zhong Zhao, 2017. "China’s family planning policies and their labor market consequences," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 31-68, January.
    20. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang & Yin Liu, 2012. "Status Competition and Housing Prices," NBER Working Papers 18000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Hopkins, Ed, 2011. "Inequality and Risk-Taking Behaviour," SIRE Discussion Papers 2011-29, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    22. Chen, Xi, 2014. "Commercial Plasma Donation and Individual Health in Impoverished Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 8591, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    23. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:169-186 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Chang, Simon & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2015. "Mating competition and entrepreneurship," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 292-309.
    25. Chen, Xi, 2015. "Status Concern and Relative Deprivation in China: Measures, Empirical Evidence, and Economic and Policy Implications," IZA Discussion Papers 9519, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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