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Intergenerational Transfer, Human Capital and Long-term Growth in China under the One Child Policy

Author

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  • Xi Zhu
  • John Whalley
  • Xiliang Zhao

Abstract

We argue that the demographic changes caused by the one child policy (OCP) may not harm China's long-term growth. This attributes to the higher human capital induced by the intergenerational transfer arrangement under China's poor-functioning formal social security system. Parents raise their children and depend on them for support when they reach an advanced age. The decrease in the number of children prompted by the OCP resulted in parents investing more in their children's educations to ensure retirement consumption. In addition, decreased childcare costs strengthen educational investment through an income effect. Using a calibrated model, a benchmark with the OCP is compared to three counterfactual experiments without the OCP. The output under the OCP is expected to be about 4 percent higher than it would be without the OCP in 2025 under moderate estimates. The output gain comes from a greatly increased educational investment driven by fewer children (11.4 years of schooling rather than 8.1). Our model sheds new light on the prospects of China's long-term growth by emphasizing the OCP's growth enhancing role through human capital formation under the intergenerational transfer arrangement.

Suggested Citation

  • Xi Zhu & John Whalley & Xiliang Zhao, 2013. "Intergenerational Transfer, Human Capital and Long-term Growth in China under the One Child Policy," NBER Working Papers 19160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19160
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    1. repec:eee:ecmode:v:69:y:2018:i:c:p:205-219 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mishra, Vinod & Smyth, Russell, 2015. "Estimating returns to schooling in urban China using conventional and heteroskedasticity-based instruments," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 166-173.
    3. repec:eee:ecmode:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. YIN Ting & ZHANG Junchao, 2017. "More Schooling, More Generous? Estimating the effect of education on intergenerational transfers," Discussion papers 17074, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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