The One-Child Policy Amplifies Economic Inequality across Generations in China


讲座时间:2020年10月20日  10:00- 11:30am



                        会议 ID397 678 413



This study finds that China's one-child policy (OCP), one of the most extreme forms of birth control in recorded history, has amplified intergenerational transmission of inequality in China since its introduction in 1979. Poor Chinese families, whose fertility choices are less constrained by the OCP than rich ones, have more children but invest less in human capital per child. Since human capital is a major determinant of earnings, the income inequality persists and enlarges across generations as a consequence. Based on nationally representative longitudinal household survey data, our estimation results show that the OCP accounts for 32.7%-47.3% of the decline in intergenerational income mobility in China over recent decades. The OCP has signicant ramifications for Chinese society, not only intragenerationally but also intergenerationally.


Yi Fan obtained her PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and earned MPhil degree (1st in class) and Bachelor degree (1st class honour) in economics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Nanjing University, respectively. Prior to joining NUS, she has taught in universities in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

Yi’s current research interests lie in urban economics, labour economics, and behavioural economics. In particular, Yi is working on intergenerational inequality and behavioural response to urban environment and urban policy. Her future research agenda is along the lines of interdisciplinary studies between intergenerational inequality and housing wealth, and between urban forms and engineering. Her work appears in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, China Economic Review, International Real Estate Review, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management and Journal of Infrastructure, Policy and Development.