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The One-Child Policy and Household Savings

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  • Taha Choukhmane

    (Yale University)

  • Nicolas Coeurdacier

    (Département d'économie)

  • Keyu Jin

    (London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE))

Abstract

We investigate how the `one-child policy' has impacted China's household saving rate and human capital in the last three decades. In a life cycle model with endogenous fertility, intergenerational transfers and human capital accumulation, we show how fertility restrictions provide incentives for households to increase their offspring's education and to accumulate financial wealth in expectation of lower support from their children. Our quantitative OLG model calibrated to household level data shows that the policy significantly increased the human capital of the only child generation and can account for a third to 60% of the rise in aggregate savings. Equally important, it can capture much of the distinct shift in the level and shape of the age-saving profile observed from micro-level data estimates. Using the birth of twins (born under the one child policy) as an exogenous deviation from the policy, we provide an empirical out-of-sample check to our quantitative results; estimates on savings and education decisions are decidedly close between model and data.

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  • Taha Choukhmane & Nicolas Coeurdacier & Keyu Jin, 2014. "The One-Child Policy and Household Savings," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5e8993t1rs8, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/5e8993t1rs83t9os9ctp26bhfv
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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. Zhang, Yu & Miranda, Mario J., "undated". "A Life Cycle Model of Childbearing and Saving Decisions with Incomplete Financial Markets and Sex Selection," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 259932, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Abhijit Banerjee & Xin Meng & Tommaso Porzio & Nancy Qian, 2014. "Aggregate Fertility and Household Savings: A General Equilibrium Analysis using Micro Data," Working Papers id:5799, eSocialSciences.
    4. Andres Fernandez & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Cesar Tamayo, "undated". "Saving Rates in Latin America: A Neoclassical Perspective," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8706, Inter-American Development Bank.
    5. Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato & Xiao Yu Wang & Shuang Zhang, 2016. "The Limits of Meritocracy: Screening Bureaucrats Under Imperfect Verifiability," NBER Working Papers 21963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Stephane Guibaud & Keyu Jin & Nicolas Coeurdacier, 2011. "Credit Constraints and Growth in a Global Economy," 2011 Meeting Papers 1040, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Coeurdacier, Nicolas & Guibaud, Stéphane & Jin, Keyu, 2014. "Fertility policies and social security reforms in China," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66107, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Almås, Ingvild & Freddi, Eleonora & Thøgersen, Øystein, 2016. "Saving and Bequest in China: An Analysis of Intergenerational Exchange," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 10/2016, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    9. Mark Rosenzweig & Junsen Zhang, 2014. "Co-residence, Life-Cycle Savings and Inter- Generational Support in Urban China," Working Papers 1039, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    10. Oliveira, Jaqueline, 2016. "The value of children: Inter-generational support, fertility, and human capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-16.
    11. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers & Yixiao Zhou, 2016. "Fertility And Savings Contractions In China: Long-Run Global Implications," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 16-24, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    12. İmrohoroğlu, Ayşe & Zhao, Kai, 2018. "The chinese saving rate: Long-term care risks, family insurance, and demographics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 33-52.
    13. Coeurdacier, Nicolas & Guibaud, Stéphane & Jin, Keyu, 2015. "Credit constraints and growth in a global economy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 62016, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Atella, Vincenzo & Brugiavini, Agar & Pace, Noemi, 2015. "The health care system reform in China: Effects on out-of-pocket expenses and saving," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 182-195.
    15. de Silva, Tiloka & Tenreyro, Silvana, 2017. "The large fall in global fertility: A quantitative model," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86157, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers & Yixiao Zhou, 2016. "Contractions in Chinese Fertility and Savings: Long-run Domestic and Global Implications," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Iris Day & John Simon (ed.), Structural Change in China: Implications for Australia and the World Reserve Bank of Australia.
    17. repec:eee:injoed:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:39-50 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Rosenzweig, Mark & Zhang, Junsen, 2014. "Co-residence, Life-Cycle Savings and Inter-generational Support in Urban China," Center Discussion Papers 166739, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    19. Zhou, Weina, 2014. "Brothers, household financial markets and savings rate in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 34-47.
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    22. repec:eee:jimfin:v:81:y:2018:i:c:p:88-115 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Howden, David & Zhou, Yang, 2014. "Unintended Consequences of China´s One-Child Policy," MPRA Paper 79607, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Ayşe İmrohoroğlu & Kai Zhao, 2017. "Intergenerational Transfers and China’s Social Security Reform," Working papers 2017-18, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life Cycle Savings; Fertility; Human Capital; Intergenerational Transfers;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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