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Land Reform and Sex Selection in China

  • Douglas Almond
  • Hongbin Li
  • Shuang Zhang

Following the death of Mao in 1976, abandonment of collective farming lifted millions from poverty and heralded sweeping pro-market policies. How did China's excess in male births respond to rural land reform? In newly-available data from over 1,000 counties, a second child following a daughter was 5.5 percent more likely to be a boy after land reform, doubling the prevailing rate of sex selection. Mothers with higher levels of education were substantially more likely to select sons than were less educated mothers. The One Child Policy was implemented over the same time period and is frequently blamed for increased sex ratios during the early 1980s. Our results point to China's watershed economic liberalization as a more likely culprit.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19153.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19153
Note: CH DEV HE LE LS PE POL
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  1. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2007. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," NBER Working Papers 13305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Yang, Dennis Tao & An, Mark Yuying, 2002. "Human capital, entrepreneurship, and farm household earnings," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 65-88, June.
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  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.
  8. Chung, Jae Ho, 2000. "Central Control and Local Discretion in China: Leadership and Implementation during Post-Mao Decollectivization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198297772, March.
  9. 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.
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