China’s family planning policies and their labor market consequences
- 2.9k Downloads
China initiated its family planning policy in 1962 and its one-child policy in 1980, and it allowed all couples to have two children as of 1 January 2016. This paper systematically examines the labor market consequences of China’s family planning policies. First, we briefly review the historical evolution of China’s family planning policies and the existing literature. Second, we investigate the effects of these policies on the labor market, focusing on the size and quality of the working-age population and its age and gender composition. We give special attention to regional differences in the demographic structure resulting from the interaction of the family planning policies and internal migration. Finally, we discuss ongoing and prospective policy changes and their potential consequences. Although urban areas and coastal provinces have implemented stricter family planning policies, our analysis shows that because of internal migration, the aging problem is more severe in rural areas and in inland provinces. Our simulation results further indicate that the new two-child policy might fall short of pulling China out of its aging situation.
KeywordsFamily planning policy One-child policy Aging Migration
JEL ClassificationJ13 J11 J21 J61
We would like to thank the editor, Klaus Zimmermann, for his guidance and thank three anonymous referees and participants at a seminar at Peking University and Workshop on: Innovation, Trade and Wages in the East Asia Time Zone hosted by Kobe University for their constructive comments. All views and the remaining errors are the authors’ alone.
Compliance with ethical standards
Liqiu Zhao acknowledges financial support from the Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 71403286) and the Center for Labor Economics and Public Policy at Zhejiang University. Zhong Zhao acknowledges financial support from the Special Fund for Building World-Class Universities and Disciplines through the Renmin University of China (grant no. 16XNL005).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Borjas G (2000) Labor economics. McGraw-HillGoogle Scholar
- Ebenstein A (2010) The “missing girls” of China and the unintended consequences of the one child policy. J Hum Resour 45(1):87–115Google Scholar
- Gu B, Wang F (2009) An experiment of eight million people (in Chinese). Social Sciences Academic Press (China)Google Scholar
- Huang W, Zhou Y (2015) One-child policy, marriage distortion, and welfare loss, IZA DP No. 9532Google Scholar
- Li H, Zhang J, Zhu Y (2005) The effect of the one-child policy on fertility in China: identification based on the differences-in-differences, unpublished manuscriptGoogle Scholar
- Li H, Yi J, Zhang J (2015) Fertility, household structure, and parental labor supply: evidence from rural China, IZA discussion paper No. 9342Google Scholar
- Liang Z (2014) China population problem (in Chinese). China Development Press (China)Google Scholar
- Merli G, Smith H (2002) Has the Chinese family planning policy been successful in changing fertility preferences? Demography 39(3):557–572Google Scholar
- Michelson E (2010) Family planning policy enforcement in rural China: enduring state-society conflict? In: Oi JC, Rozelle S, Zhou X (eds) Growing pains: tensions and opportunity in China’s transformation. Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center, Distributed by Brookings Institution Press, Stanford, pp 189–226Google Scholar
- National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) (2012) Tabulation on the 2010 population census of the People’s Republic of China. China Statistics Press (China), BeijingGoogle Scholar
- Qian N (2009) Quantity-quality and the one child policy: the positive effect of family size on school enrollment in China. NBER Working Paper w14973Google Scholar
- Qin Y, Wang F (2015) Too early or too late: what have we learned from the 30-year two-child policy experiment, unpublished manuscript, URL: http://wangf.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/1/1/26112274/qin_wang_two_child_policy.pdf
- Scharping T (2003) Birth control in China 1949–2000. Routledge Curzon, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Tang M (2013) Choice for China’s population policy: lessons from East Asian Region. Popul Res (in Chinese) 37(6) :77–90Google Scholar
- Tian X (2009) Sixty years of China’s population policies (in Chinese). Social Sciences Academic Press (China)Google Scholar
- Tien HY (1984) Induced fertility transition: impact of population planning and socio-economic change in the People’s Republic of China. Popul Stud 38(3):385–400Google Scholar
- United Nations (2013) World population policies 2013Google Scholar
- Wang F (2014) Essays on family planning policies, Ph.D. Dissertation at the University of Southern CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
- Wang F (2015) Using new measures to reassess the fertility effects of China’s family planning policies, unpublished manuscript, URL: http://wangf.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/1/1/26112274/wang_new_measures.pdf
- Wang G, Hu Y, Zhang L (2013) Adjustment of family planning policy in China (in Chinese). Social Sciences Academic Press (China)Google Scholar
- Wei S, Zhang X (2011b) Sex ratios, entrepreneurship, and economic growth in the People’s Republic of China, NBER Working Paper No. 16800Google Scholar
- Zhai Z, Zhang X, Jin Y (2014) Demographic consequences of an immediate transition to a universal two-child policy. Popul Res (in Chinese) 38(2):3–17Google Scholar