Graduation Year


Publication Date


Embargo Period



An early version of this paper was published in volume 24 of the Park Place Economist.


China's one-child policy is one of the most controversial population control measures implemented in modem society. While most literature 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 Chinese men and women. 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 corresponds to an equalizing in relative earnings. This paper uses data from the American Community Survey to test the hypothesis that the one-child policy advanced the relative earnings of Chinese immigrant women in the United States. A difference-indifferences methodology is used to answer two questions: first, to what extent is the one-child policy's effect on educational attainment for Chinese women reflected in the immigrant population? Second, if the one-child policy had a positive effect on the level of educational attainment for Chinese immigrant women, is this reflected in their wage-earning profile, relative to their Chinese male immigrant counterparts? The findings of this research suggest that Chinese immigrant women born after the one-child policy attain higher levels of education than those born before. The impacts of these findings are not presently reflected in the wage-earning profiles of Chinese female immigrants because of their young age. However, this provides an opportunity for future research on the positive effects of education on earnings once women born under the one-child policy have engaged in work for a more substantial amount of time.



Included in

Economics Commons