One Child Policy and Inter-Ethnic Marriage in China

Yi Zhou, University of California, Berkeley
Wei Huang, Harvard University

This paper examines the impact of the One-Child Policy on China’s increasing inter-ethnic marriage in recent decades. Because the One-Child Policy only applies to Han-Han (dominant ethnicity in China) couples in certain regions, we hypothesize that it motivates Han people in these regions to marry the minority to have more children. Using temporal and regional variations in the policy enforcement, this paper provides evidence for this hypothesis and estimates that one fourth of the increase in inter-ethnic marriage is due to the policy. It also finds the inter-ethnic couples under more restrict One-Child Policy tend to be those with lower education, who have higher children demand ex ante and bear more children ex post. Finally, the results show that the policy-induced inter-ethnic couples are more likely to suffer poorer living conditions and end up in lower-skilled occupations.

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Presented in Session 230: Marriage and Family in a Legal Context