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Equality and fertility: evidence from China

Wei Chen, People's University of China
Jinju Liu, People's University of China

In the economic research of fertility, one of the important hypotheses is that a more equitable income distribution contributes to the reduction of fertility. Using cross-country data, scholars performed empirical testing of the hypothesis and concluded that equalizing the distribution of income reduces fertility. Some other scholars, however, found conflicting evidence and reached conclusion contradicting the hypothesis. This paper tests the hypothesis in the Chinese context using data from the most recent national one-percent population sample survey. This paper analyses the influence of income and income distribution on fertility in China using aggregated data at the prefecture-level. Ordinary least square regression is performed to examine the effect of income distribution on general fertility rate when controlling for some other socio-economic development variables. Results show that a more equitable income distribution is significantly associated with a lower general fertility rate. Policy implications and some methodological issues are discussed.

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Presented in Session 142: Poverty and fertility linkages