The one-child policy and sex ratio of children in transitional China: a longitudinal analysis

Juhua Yang, Renmin University of China

High sex ratio at birth (SRB) in China has been observed since the mid-1980s, and the one-child policy has been suggested as a cause. Using the 2000 census micro data and highlighting local variations of the policy I find that the relationship between the policy and SRB is curvilinear: both a stricter and looser policy are related to a relatively lower SRB, while the 1.5 child policy (i.e., if the first child is a daughter, the couple is allowed to have a second child) is associated with a more abnormal SRB. However, policy effect is contingent on parity, and it is the gendered nature of the policy that raises SRB. Findings suggest that in settings where couple’s ability to control for the sex composition of children exceeds the ability to have more children and when fertility decline is faster than the decline of gender preference, external pressures might be adopted to reduce son proclivity and sex ratio.

  See paper

Presented in Session 43: Two decades of demographic masculinization in Asia: impact and policy response