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‘More Children, More Happiness?’: New Evidence from Elderly Parents in China

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  • Gao, Yanyan
  • Qu, Zhaopeng

Abstract

In this paper, we test the conventional wisdom in developing countries of ‘more children, more happiness’ by exploiting the cohort and provincial variations of elderly parents exposed to the one-child policy in China. Using nationally representative survey data from the 2015 China Health and Retirement Longitude Survey, the results from both the ordinary least square and two-stage least square methods find that more children can enhance elderly parents’ subjective well-being (SWB) measured with either life satisfaction or depression mood. The effect is channelled by raising their satisfaction with children and receiving in-kind transfers from children. The heterogeneity analysis also shows that the effect of children on parents’ life satisfaction is heterogenous to sex composition, first-birth gender, and parents' age. Our study provides new causal evidence of the impact of fertility on elderly parents’ SWB from a developing economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Gao, Yanyan & Qu, Zhaopeng, 2019. "‘More Children, More Happiness?’: New Evidence from Elderly Parents in China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 366, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:366
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/200243/1/GLO-DP-0366.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    children; happiness; life satisfaction; elderly parents; depression; China;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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