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Land Reform and Sex Selection in China

Author

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  • Douglas Almond
  • Hongbin Li
  • Shuang Zhang

Abstract

Following the death of Mao in 1976, agrarian decision-making shifted from the collective to individual households, unleashing rapid growth in farm output and unprecedented reductions in poverty. In new data on reform timing in 914 counties, we find an immediate trend break in the fraction of male children following rural land reform. Among second births that followed a firstborn girl, sex ratios increased from 1.1 to 1.3 boys per girl in the four years following reform. Larger increases are found among families with more education and in counties with larger output gains due to reform. Proximately, increased sex selection was achieved in part through prenatal ultrasounds obtained in provincial capitals. The land reform estimate is robust to controlling for the county-level rollout of the One Child Policy. Overall, we estimate land reform accounted for roughly half of the increase in sex ratios in rural China from 1978-86, or about 1 million missing girls.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Almond & Hongbin Li & Shuang Zhang, 2013. "Land Reform and Sex Selection in China," NBER Working Papers 19153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19153
    Note: CH DEV HE LE LS PE POL
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Xin Meng & Nancy Qian & Pierre Yared, 2010. "The Institutional Causes of China's Great Famine, 1959-61," NBER Working Papers 16361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2011. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 158-195, February.
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    6. Yuyu Chen & Hongbin Li & Lingsheng Meng, 2013. "Prenatal Sex Selection and Missing Girls in China: Evidence from the Diffusion of Diagnostic Ultrasound," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(1), pages 36-70.
    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:62:y:2017:i:04:n:s0217590817400252 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0595-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sonia Bhalotra & Abhishek Chakravarty & Dilip Mookherjee & Francisco J. Pino, "undated". "Property Rights and Gender Bias: Evidence from Land Reform in West Bengal," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-281, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Samuel Marden, 2016. "Family Size and the Demand for Sex Selection: Evidence From China," Working Paper Series 9016, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    5. Anukriti, S & Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Tam, Hiu, 2016. "On the Quantity and Quality of Girls: New Evidence on Abortion, Fertility, and Parental Investments," IZA Discussion Papers 10271, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Du, Julan & Wang, Yongqin & Zhang, Yan, 2015. "Sex imbalance, marital matching and intra-household bargaining: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 197-218.
    7. Samuel Marden, 2016. "Family Size and the Demand for Sex Selection: Evidence From China," Working Paper Series 09016, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    8. Xiaobo Peng & Dalton Conley, 2016. "The implication of health insurance for child development and maternal nutrition: evidence from China," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(5), pages 521-534, June.
    9. Li, Wenchao & Yi, Junjian, 2015. "The Competitive Earning Incentive for Sons: Evidence from Migration in China," IZA Discussion Papers 9214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Anukriti, S & Kumler, Todd J., 2014. "Tariffs, Social Status, and Gender in India," IZA Discussion Papers 7969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Howden, David & Zhou, Yang, 2015. "Why Did China’s Population Grow So Quickly?," MPRA Paper 79795, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Howden, David & Zhou, Yang, 2014. "Unintended Consequences of China´s One-Child Policy," MPRA Paper 79607, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Zhiming Cheng & Russell Smyth, 2015. "China’s Imbalanced Sex Ratio and Satisfaction with Marital Relationships," Monash Economics Working Papers 22-15, Monash University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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