The Unintended Consequences of Relaxing Birth Quotas: Family Policy in China

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds that the recent adoption of a two-child policy in China has substantially increased the number of second-child births.

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GLO Discussion Paper No. 819, 2021

The Unintended Consequences of Relaxing Birth Quotas: Theory and Evidence Download PDF
Jin, Zhangfeng & Pan, Shiyuan & Zheng, Zhijie

GLO Fellow Zhangfeng Jin

Author Abstract: This study examines the consequences of relaxing birth quotas by exploiting an exogenous two-child policy adopted by local Chinese governments on different dates. Using China’s 2015 population census combined with a difference-in-differences framework, we find that the adoption of a two-child policy substantially increases the number of second-child births. The impact of the policy is more pronounced among couples who have higher fertility preferences and who are less sensitive to child-rearing costs. At the same time, this policy substantially decreases the number of first-child births. Child-rearing costs are a likely underlying mechanism for this decrease. All of these findings are in line with an extended Barro-Becker model.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.


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