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Human Resources in China: The Birth Quota, Returns to Schooling, and Migration


  • T. Paul Schultz

    () (Yale University, Economic Growth Center)


Rural elderly have 40% of the income of those in urban areas, spend a larger share of their income on food, are in worse health, work later into their lives, and depend more on their children, lacking pensions and public services. The birth quota since 1980 has particularly restricted the childbearing of rural less educated women, who now face retirement with fewer children for support. Inequality in China can also be traced to increasing returns to schooling, especially beyond secondary school. Government restrictions on rural-urban migration reduce national efficiency, add to the urban-rural wage gap, and increase inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • T. Paul Schultz, 2004. "Human Resources in China: The Birth Quota, Returns to Schooling, and Migration," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm366, Yale School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:ysm366

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Byron, Rayond P & Manaloto, Evelyn Q, 1990. "Returns to Education in China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(4), pages 783-796, July.
    2. Gary S. Becker & H. Gregg Lewis, 1974. "Interaction between Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 81-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xiaohua Yu & Guoqing Zhao, 2009. "Chinese agricultural development in 30 years: A literature review," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer;Higher Education Press, vol. 4(4), pages 633-648, December.
    2. Schultz, T. Paul, 2010. "Population and Health Policies," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Wu, Ximing & Perloff, Jeffrey M., 2004. "China's Income Distribution Over Time: Reasons for Rising Inequality," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt9jw2v939, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    4. Ximing Wu & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 2005. "China's Income Distribution, 1985-2001," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 763-775, November.
    5. Fan, C. Simon & Stark, Oded, 2008. "Rural-to-urban migration, human capital, and agglomeration," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 234-247, October.
    6. Hua-shu Wang & Henk Moll, 2010. "Education Financing of Rural Households in China," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 353-360, September.

    More about this item


    Human Capital Returns; Rural-urban Migration; Elderly Poverty; China;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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