This paper is the first to examine the causal relationship between China's One-Child Policy (OCP) and the long-term accumulation of human capital by a regression discontinuity design. Based on the 2005 China Inter-census Survey data, we observe a strong policy shock upon the probability of being a single child among people born around the starting point of OCP, which in turn significantly increases their educational attainment in adulthood. The results strongly suggest that there exists a quantity-quality trade-off as renewed by Becker, and the trade-off is more pronounced in the economically less developed regions and among families with the same-sex children. The results shed light on the re-understanding of China's family planning initiative as well as the application of regression discontinuity designs.
Does the one-child policy improve children’s human capital in urban China? A regression discontinuity design
Xuezheng Qin, Castiel Chen Zhuang, and Rudai Yang (2017). "Does the one-child policy improve children’s human capital in urban China? A regression discontinuity design." Journal of Comparative Economics 45(2), 287-303.