China's One-Child Policy and the Mystery of Missing Women: Ethnic Minorities and Male-Biased Sex Ratios

Posted: 10 Jan 2011

See all articles by Erwin H. Bulte

Erwin H. Bulte

Tilburg University - Department of Economics; Wageningen University

Nico Heerink

Wageningen UR

Xiaobo Zhang

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: August 17, 2010

Abstract

Recent estimates suggest that as many as 40 million women are missing in China. We exploit a special provision in the Chinese one-child policy (OCP; allowing for preferential treatment of ethnic minority groups) to revisit the mystery of these missing women, and in particular to explore the contribution of China's OCP in distorting sex ratios. Our results imply that preference for boys is the main driver of the gender gap, and that the OCP is responsible for about half of it. This is true even before ultrasound technologies for prenatal gender determination were available. Not surprisingly, interaction between the OCP and ultrasound technologies has contributed to the gender gap.

JEL Classification: J1, D13, I18

Suggested Citation

Bulte, Erwin H. and Heerink, Nico and Zhang, Xiaobo, China's One-Child Policy and the Mystery of Missing Women: Ethnic Minorities and Male-Biased Sex Ratios (August 17, 2010). Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 73, No. 1, pp. 21-39, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1736871 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0084.2010.00601.x

Erwin H. Bulte (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 9111 (Phone)

Wageningen University

Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN
Wageningen
Netherlands

Nico Heerink

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

Xiaobo Zhang

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

2033 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States
202-862-5677 (Phone)
202-467-4439 (Fax)

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