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The Park Place Economist

Abstract

China's one-child policy is one of the most controversial population control measures implemented in modern society. While most research focuses on the effects this policy has had on China's population size and economic growth, very little research has been dedicated to analyzing how this policy has affected wage differentials between men and women. The purpose of this paper is to use a unique sample of male and female Chinese immigrants to determine whether the one-child policy has advanced the relative earnings of Chinese immigrant women in the United States. Research suggests that the one-child policy redirected more educational resources towards Chinese daughters than in the past. Human capital theory hypothesizes that equalization in educational attainment will correspond to an equalizing in relative earnings. To test this hypothesis, this paper uses the American Community Survey and a difference-in-differences methodology to compare the relative earnings of female Chinese immigrants in the U.S. to their male counterparts. This paper finds that, relative to Chinese male immigrants, Chinese female immigrants born under the one-child policy perform better in the labor market than their older, non-single child family female counterparts.

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