Essays on the Impact of China's One-Child Policy on Economic Development

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
My dissertation focuses on the macroeconomic consequences of China's one-child policy. The first chapter examines the effects of China's one-child policy on savings and foreign reserve accumulation. Fertility control increases the saving rate both by altering saving decisions at the household level, and by altering the demographic composition of the population at the aggregate level. As in Song, Storesletten and Zilibotti (2011), government-owned firms are assumed to be less productive but have better access to the credit market compare to entrepreneurial firms. As labor switches from less productive to more productive firms, demand for domestic bank borrowing decreases. As saving increases while demand for loans decreases, domestic savings are invested abroad, generating a foreign surplus. In the second chapter of my dissertation, I provide a theoretical framework for examining the effects of China's one-child policy on its long run economic growth. The model incorporates within family intergenerational transfers and a "quantity/quality" tradeoff. When a population control policy is implemented, parents increase investment in their children's education in order to compensate for reduction in future transfers. As in Galor and Weil (2010), technological progress is assumed to be driven by two forces: the population size and the level of education. With population control, the total population decreases and the average level of education increases. Thus, the overall effect on technological progress is ambiguous without specifying functional forms for technology and human capital. The third chapter provides a quantitative exploration of the model from the second chapter. The calibrated results are consistent with the model, in which population, technological progress, and income per capita move in endogenous cycles. The impact of China's one-child policy depends on the timing of the policy. If the policy is enforced when the population is large enough, hence when the rate of technological progress is high, it increases GDP growth both in the short-run and in the long-run.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Kasa, Ken
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