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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zhong, Hai, 2014. "The effect of sibling size on children's health: a regression discontinuity design approach based on China's one-child policy," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 156-165.
    2. Zachary Zimmer & Julia Kwong, 2003. "Family size and support of older adults in urban and rural China: Current effects and future implications," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(1), pages 23-44, February.
    3. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2010. "Multiple Experiments for the Causal Link between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 773-824, October.
    4. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2014. "Mastering ’Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10363.
    5. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-477, June.
    6. Pierluigi Conzo & Giulia Fuochi & Letizia Mencarini, 2017. "Fertility and Life Satisfaction in Rural Ethiopia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(4), pages 1331-1351, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tao, Dongjie & He, Lingyun & Hamilton, Jonathan & Xu, Ding, 2021. "Children's marriage and parental subjective well-being: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    children; happiness; life satisfaction; elderly parents; depression; China;
    All these keywords.

    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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