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China's Gender Imbalance and its Economic Performance

  • Jane Golley

    (Centre for China in the World Australian National University)

  • Rod Tyers

    (Business School, University of Western Australia and Research School of Economics Australian National University)

Chinese GDP growth faces rising handicaps that include the slowdown and eventual contraction of its labour force, a complication of which is its rising sex ratio at birth. The undesirable consequences of the resulting gender imbalance include excessive saving as families with boys compete to match their sons with scarce girls, trafficking in women and rising disaffection and crime amongst the low-skill male population. These are reviewed and analysed using a dynamic model of both economic and demographic behaviour. The results show that the proportion of unmatched low-skill males of reproductive age could be as high as one in four by 2030, with numbers too large for female immigration to be a solution. Policies to rebalance the sex ratio at birth will take decades to reduce the sex ratio at reproductive age and any associated allowance of higher fertility would slow growth in real per capita income. Yet the results suggest that the beneficial effects of reduced male disaffection and crime could outweigh the losses from reduced saving and higher population.

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File URL: http://www.business.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/2157986/12-10-Chinas-Gender-Imbalance-and-its-Economic-Performance.pdf
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Paper provided by The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion / Working Papers with number 12-10.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:12-10
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Web page: http://www.business.uwa.edu.au/school/disciplines/economics

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  1. C. Fred Bergsten & Charles Freeman & Nicholas R. Lardy, 2008. "China's Rise: Challenges and Opportunities," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 4174.
  2. Erwin Bulte & Nico Heerink & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "China's One‐Child Policy and ‘the Mystery of Missing Women’: Ethnic Minorities and Male‐Biased Sex Ratios," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 73(1), pages 21-39, 02.
  3. Edlund, Lena & Li, Hongbin & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2007. "Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 3214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "Demographic Dividends, Dependencies and Economic Growth in China and India," CAMA Working Papers 2012-06, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
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  13. Charles Yuji Horioka & Akiko Terada-Hagiwara, 2011. "The Determinants and Long-term Projections of Saving Rates in Developing Asia," ISER Discussion Paper 0821, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  14. Golley, Jane & Meng, Xin, 2011. "Has China run out of surplus labour?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 555-572.
  15. Du, Qingyuang & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2012. "A Darwinian Perspective on "Exchange Rate Undervaluation"," CEPR Discussion Papers 8872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2007. "Direct Investment, Rising Real Wages and the Absorption of Excess Labor in the Periphery," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 103-132 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Kate Antonovics & Robert Town, 2004. "Are All the Good Men Married? Uncovering the Sources of the Marital Wage Premium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 317-321, May.
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