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Mortality and fertility: How large is the direct child replacement effect in China?


Olsen (1980) proposed a method for quantifying the fertility response to child mortality. He showed how to correct for bias in the OLS estimator. He also proposed the use of mortality rates as an instrumental variable. This method is applied here to a new Chinese microdata set. It appears that the method works well. The bias-corrected direct replacement effect based on the Chinese data is about 0.6, which is three times as large as the effects found by Olsen (1980, 1988) using data for Colombia and Malaysia. Several explanations are provided for this result.

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I am grateful to Frank Denton, Martin Dooley, Ronald Lee, Lonnie Magee, Byron Spencer and three anonymous referees for many helpful comments and suggestions. I would also like to thank the International Statistical Institute Research Center for supplying the data used in this study.

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Zhang, J. Mortality and fertility: How large is the direct child replacement effect in China?. J Popul Econ 3, 303–314 (1990).

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  • Mortality Rate
  • Instrumental Variable
  • Child Mortality
  • Replacement Effect
  • Direct Replacement