NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People's Republic of China

Shang-Jin Wei, Xiaobo Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 16800
Issued in February 2011
NBER Program(s):   EFG   IFM   LS

China experiences an increasingly severe relative surplus of men in the pre-marital age cohort. The existing literature on its consequences focuses mostly on negative aspects such as crime. In this paper, we provide evidence that the imbalance may also stimulate economic growth by inducing more entrepreneurship and hard work. First, new domestic private firms – an important engine of growth – are more likely to emerge from regions with a higher sex ratio imbalance. Second, the likelihood for parents with a son to be entrepreneurs rises with the local sex ratio. Third, households with a son in regions with a more skewed sex ratio demonstrate a greater willingness to accept relatively dangerous or unpleasant jobs and supply more work days. In contrast, the labor supply pattern by households with a daughter is unrelated to the sex ratio. Finally, regional GDP tends to grow faster in provinces with a higher sex ratio. Since the sex ratio imbalance will become worse in the near future, this growth effect is likely to persist.

download in pdf format
   (328 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (328 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16800

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Wei, Zhang, and Liu w18000 Status Competition and Housing Prices
Yang, Zhang, and Zhou w16771 Why Are Saving Rates so High in China?
Wei and Zhang w15093 The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China
Chen, Jin, Kumar, and Shi w16907 The Promise of Beijing: Evaluating the Impact of the 2008 Olympic Games on Air Quality
Du and Wei w16788 A Darwinian Perspective on "Exchange Rate Undervaluation"
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us