This paper finds that a 10-μg/m3 increase in airborne particulate matter [particulate matter smaller than 10 μm (PM10)] reduces life expectancy by 0.64 years (95% confidence interval = 0.21–1.07). This estimate is derived from quasiexperimental variation in PM10 generated by China’s Huai River Policy, which provides free or heavily subsidized coal for indoor heating during the winter to cities north of the Huai River but not to those to the south. The findings are derived from a regression discontinuity design based on distance from the Huai River, and they are robust to using parametric and nonparametric estimation methods, different kernel types and bandwidth sizes, and adjustment for a rich set of demographic and behavioral covariates. Furthermore, the shorter lifespans are almost entirely caused by elevated rates of cardiorespiratory mortality, suggesting that PM10 is the causal factor. The estimates imply that bringing all of China into compliance with its Class I standards for PM10 would save 3.7 billion life-years.
Prior to 1996, Israelis in collective communities (kibbutzim) shared the costs of raising children equally. This article examines the impact of privatising costs of children on the fertility behaviour of young couples. Exploiting variation in parental cost-sharing across kibbutzim, we estimate that lifetime fertility declined by 0.65 children. We also examine the exit decisions of members, and find that couples were most likely to leave the kibbutz if they were either higher income or lower fertility. This pattern is also observed among Israeli emigrants, in which higher educated and lower fertility couples are more likely to leave Israel.
Cognitive performance during high-stakes exams can be affected by random disturbances that, even if transitory, may have permanent consequences. We evaluate this hypothesis among Israeli students who took a series of matriculation exams between 2000 and 2002. Exploiting variation across the same student taking multiple exams, we find that transitory PM2.5 exposure is associated with a significant decline in student performance. We then examine these students in 2010 and find that PM2.5 exposure during exams is negatively associated with postsecondary educational attainment and earnings. The results highlight how reliance on noisy signals of student quality can lead to allocative inefficiency.
In 1987, 4 per cent of girls were adopted within China. Why? Unlike infanticide, abandonment rids parents of daughters while preserving the supply of potential brides. In fact, an erstwhile tradition common in Fujian and Jiangxi provinces had parents of sons adopting an infant girl to serve as a future daughter-inlaw and household help. Analysing a nationally representative 1992 survey of children, we found that: (1) girl adoptions were concentrated in the above-mentioned provinces; (2) girls were predominantly adopted by families with sons; (3) adopted girls faced substantial disadvantage as measured by school attendance at ages 8–13. In the 1990s, as the sex ratio at birth climbed, were girls aborted rather than abandoned? Observing that in the 2000 census too many girls appear in families with older sons, we estimated that at least 1/25 girls were abandoned in the 1990s, a proportion that in Fujian and Jiangxi may have peaked at 1/ 10 in 1994.
We examined migration in China using the 2005 inter-census population survey, in which migrants were registered at both their place of original (hukou) residence and at their destination. We find evidence that the estimated number of internal migrants in China is extremely sensitive to the enumeration method. We estimate that the traditional destination-based survey method fails to account for more than a third of migrants found using comparable origin-based methods. The ‘missing’ migrants are disproportionately young, male, and holders of rural hukou. We find that origin-based methods are more effective at capturing migrants who travel short distances for short periods, whereas destination-based methods are more effective when entire households have migrated and no remaining family members are located at the hukou location. We conclude with a set of policy recommendations for the design of population surveys in countries with large migrant populations.
This paper examines the relationship between income, pollution, and mortality in China from 1991-2012. Using first-difference models, we document a robust positive association between city-level GDP and life expectancy. We also find a negative association between city-level particulate air pollution exposure and life expectancy that is driven by elevated cardiorespiratory mortality rates. The results suggest that while China's unprecedented economic growth over the last two decades is associated with health improvements, pollution has served as a countervailing force.
We link industry-level data on trade and offshoring with individual-level worker data from the Current Population Surveys from 1984 to 2002. We find that occupational exposure to globalization is associated with significant wage effects, while industry exposure has no significant impact. We present evidence that globalization has put downward pressure on worker wages through the reallocation of workers away from higher-wage manufacturing jobs into other sectors and other occupations.
Using a panel of workers, we find that occupation switching due to trade led to real wage losses of 12 to 17 percentage points.
Because sex ratios at birth have risen sharply in China in recent decades, an increasing proportion of men
will be unable to find a bride, and will face old age without the support of a wife and children. We project
the proportions of never-married men and their geographical distribution in China in the coming decades.
Our projections assume that two tendencies in current marriage patterns will persist: that women will
continue to migrate to wealthier areas and to prefer men with better prospects. We find that, by 2030, more
than 20 per cent of men in China aged 3039 will never have married, and that the proportion will be
especially high among poor men in low-income provinces that are least able to provide social protection
programmes. The projected geographic concentration of bachelors could be socially disruptive, and the
results suggest a need to expand the coverage and central financing of social protection programmes.
This paper's findings suggest that an arbitrary Chinese policy that greatly increases total suspended particulates (TSP) air pollution is causing the 500 million residents of Northern China to lose more than 2.5 billion life years of life expectancy. The quasi-experimental empirical approach is based on China's Huai River policy, which provided free winter heating via the provision of coal for boilers in cities North of the Huai River but denied heat to the South. Using a regression discontinuity design based on distance from the Huai River, we find that ambient concentrations of TSP are about 184 μg/m3 (95% CI: 61, 307) or 55% higher in the North. Further, the results indicate that life expectancies are about 5.5 (95% CI: 0.8, 10.2) years lower in the North due to an increased incidence of cardiorespiratory mortality. More generally, the analysis suggests that long-term exposure to an additional 100 μg/m3 of TSP is associated with a reduction in life expectancy at birth of about 3.0 years (95% CI: 0.4, 5.6).
This paper examines the impact of multinational firm entry into local labor
markets on employment, productivity, and wages. It exploits the People’s
Republic of China’s rapid implementation of economic reforms and
assignment of cities to special economic zone status in the 1980s and 1990s.
Using data on both firms and workers, it is found that these policies increased
foreign direct investment, which raised average labor productivity in these
labor markets. However, only modest increases in real median wage rates
across these cities are observed in the face of large increases in wage
inequality and rising local prices, limiting the benefits to most workers in
these cities. Evidence is presented that corporate profits captured most of the
increase in productivity in these areas.
China’s rapid industrialization has led to a severe deterioration in water quality in the country’s lakes and rivers. By exploiting variation in pollution across China’s river basins, I estimate that a deterioration of water quality by a single grade (on a six-grade scale) increases the digestive cancer death rate by 9.7%. The analysis rules out other potential explanations such as smoking rates, dietary patterns, and air pollution. I estimate that doubling China’s levy rates for wastewater dumping would save roughly 17,000 lives per year but require an additional $500 million in annual spending on wastewater treatment.
High ratios of males to females in China, which have historically concerned researchers (Sen 1990), have increased in the wake of China’s one-child policy, which began in 1979. Chinese policymakers are currently attempting to correct the imbalance in the sex ratio through initiatives that provide financial compensation to parents with daughters. Other scholars have advocated a relaxation of the one-child policy to allow more parents to have a son without engaging in sex
selection. In this article, I present a model of fertility choice when parents have access to a sex-selection technology and face a mandated fertility limit. By exploiting variation in fines levied in China for unsanctioned births, I estimate the
relative price of a son and daughter for mothers observed in China’s census data (1982–2000). I find that a couple’s first son is worth 1.42 years of income more than a first daughter, and the premium is highest among less-educated mothers and families engaged in agriculture. Simulations indicate that a subsidy of 1 year of income to families without a son would reduce the number of “missing girls” by 67% but impose an annual cost of 1.8% of Chinese gross domestic product (GDP). Alternatively, a three-child policy would reduce the number of “missing girls” by 56% but increase the fertility rate by 35%.
Many scholars argue that the persistence of son preference in China is driven by greater anticipated old-age support from sons than from daughters and the absence of formal financial mechanisms for families to save for retirement. The introduction of a voluntary old-age pension program in rural China in the 1990s presents the opportunity to examine (1) whether parents with sons are less likely to participate in pension plans and (2) whether providing access to pension plans affects parental sex-selection decisions. Consistent with the first hypothesis, we find that parents with sons are less likely to participate in the pension program and have less financial savings for retirement. Consistent with the second hypothesis, we find that an increase in county-level pension program availability is associated with a slower increase in the sex ratio at birth.
High ratios of males to females in China have concerned researchers (Sen 1990, Yi et al. 1993) and the recent increase has alarmed policymakers worldwide. This paper presents an analysis of China’s census data that indicates that the “missing girls” phenomenon is causally linked to enforcement of the One Child Policy. Fertility is lower and sex ratios are higher
among those under stricter fertility control, and the overall increase in the sex ratio is driven by an increase in the prevalence of sex selection among first and second births. By exploiting regional and temporal variation in fines levied for unauthorized births, I find that higher fine regimes discourage fertility, but are associated with higher ratios of males to females.
In the wake of the one-child policy of 1979, China experienced an unprecedented rise in the sex ratio at birth (ratio of male to female births). In cohorts born between 1980 and 2000, there were 22 million more men than women. Some 10.4 percent of these additional men will fail to marry, based on simulations presented here that assess how different scenarios for the sex ratio at birth affect the probability of failure to marry in 21st century China. Three consequences of the high sex ratio and large numbers of unmarried men are discussed: the prevalence of prostitution and sexually transmitted infections, the economic and physical well-being of men who fail to marry, and China’s ability to care for its elderly, with a particular focus on elderly males who fail to marry. Several policy options are suggested that could mitigate the negative consequences of the demographic squeeze.
The local average treatment effect (LATE) may differ from the average
treatment effect (ATE) when those influenced by the instrument are not
representative of the overall population. Heterogeneity in treatment effects
may imply that parameter estimates from 2SLS are uninformative regarding
the average treatment effect, motivating a search for instruments that
affect a larger share of the population. In this paper, I present and
estimate a model of home production with heterogeneous costs and benefits to
fertility. The results indicate that a sex-preference instrument in Taiwan
produces IV estimates closer to the estimated ATE than in the United States,
where sex preference is weaker.