Birth control, family size and educational stratification
Evidence from the Han and ethnic minorities in China
This study investigates the unexpected impact that enforcing birth control policies in China has upon the educational stratification between the Han majority, the policy target group, and ethnic minorities, a partially excluded group.
Exploring county-level variation in the value of fines levied for unsanctioned births, we find that a stricter enforcement of the birth control policy leads to a larger educational gap between ethnic minorities and the Han majority in both rural and urban areas.
More specifically, we find that higher fines lead to a larger improvement in the educational attainment of the Han majority and that this is principally due to the greater effect of these fines upon the reduction of family size and the subsequent concentration of family resources (among this population). Our findings indicate that the birth control policy has substantially contributed to the rising Han-minority educational gap in China.