Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 565–602 | Cite as

The quality–quantity trade-off: evidence from the relaxation of China’s one-child policy

  • Haoming LiuEmail author
Original Paper


This paper uses the exogenous variation in fertility introduced by China’s family planning policies to identify the impact of child quantity on child quality. We find that the number of children has a significant negative effect on child height, which supports the quality–quantity trade-off theory. Our instrumental quantile regression approach shows that the impact varies considerably across the height distribution, particularly for boys. However, the trade-off is much weaker if quality is measured by educational attainments, suggesting that the measurement of child quality is also crucial in testing the quality–quantity trade-off theory.


Education Fertility Quantile regression Quality–quantity trade-off 

JEL Classification




We are grateful to three anonymous referees and the editor Junsen Zhang for valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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