Research in Progress (RIP): "Early Fertility Decline and Sex Imbalance in Rural China"



Grant Miller, CHP/PCOR

Date and Time

February 11, 2015 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

FSI Contact

Nicole Feldman

In collaboration with Kimberly Singer Babiarz, Paul Ma, and Shige Song

All research in progress seminars are off-the-record. Any information about methodology and/or results are embargoed until publication.


During the 1970s, the total fertility rate in rural China fell more than 50% from 6.4 in 1970 to about 3 in 1980, one of the most dramatic fertility declines ever observed. This decline coincides with an intense, widespread fertility control campaign called the ‘Later, Longer, Fewer’ campaign, which aggressively promoted later marriage, longer birth intervals and fewer children prior to the 'One Child Policy' (by when fertility rates were already very low).  In this work in progress, we use a novel dataset combining previously unused data on the province-level initiation of early fertility control policies in combination with detailed birth history data on more than 1.5 million births to study the policy’s effect on fertility.  Importantly, we also study behavioral sex selection under the policy, which is coincident with the rise of sex imbalance at young ages in the Chinese population. Specifically, we study three distinct mechanisms of sex selection: (1) male-biased fertility stopping rules, (2) prenatal sex selection (sex-specific abortion, abandonment, or infanticide), and (3) differential neglect during childhood.