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Son Preference and Human Capital Investment Among China’s Rural-Urban Migrant Households

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  • Lin, Carl
  • Sun, Yan
  • Xing, Chunbing

Abstract

We use several datasets to study whether son preference prevails in the human capital investment among Chinese rural-urban migrant households. We find that son preference exists among the rural migrants’ households and that it caused lower probabilities relative to that of their boy counterparts that school age girls will migrate with their parents—a difference that is absent for children of preschool age. We also find that (1) boys are more likely to migrate following the reduction in the number of rural primary schools, (2) migrant households with multiple children tend to take their sons to migrate more than they take their daughters, and (3) the fact that parents of boy students spend more on their children’s education can be largely explained by the extra costs of schooling for migrant households. Finally, we show that the parents of rural children have higher expectations for boys than they do for girls. Our results suggest that son preference is detrimental to the human capital investment in girls in contemporary China when institutional arrangements result in high costs of schooling for migrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Lin, Carl & Sun, Yan & Xing, Chunbing, 2018. "Son Preference and Human Capital Investment Among China’s Rural-Urban Migrant Households," GLO Discussion Paper Series 268, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:268
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    2. Wang, Sophie Xuefei & Bansak, Cynthia, 2022. "Are Grandparents a Good Substitute for Parents as the Primary Caregiver? The Impact of Grandparents on Children's Academic Performance," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1100, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rural-urban migration; China; Children; Son preference; Human capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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