【CESS】Macroeconomic and Global Implications of the Sex Ratio Imbalance in China

  • 研討會日期 : 2024-01-10
  • 時間 : 14:30
  • 主講人 : Professor Shang-Jin Wei
  • 地點 : Conference Room B110 & Online
  • 演講者簡介 : Professor Shang-Jin Wei received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992. He is currently N.T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy and Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business and School of International and Public Affairs. He is a noted scholar in international finance, trade, and the Chinese economy.
  • 演講摘要 : The talk will draw on and summarize several past research: 1. The high and rising household savings rate in China is not easily reconciled with the traditional explanations that emphasize life cycle factors, the precautionary saving motive, financial development, or habit formation. This paper proposes a new competitive saving motive: as the sex ratio rises, Chinese parents with a son raise their savings in a competitive manner in order to improve their son’s relative attractiveness for marriage. The pressure on savings spills over to other households. Both cross-regional and household-level evidence supports this hypothesis. This factor can potentially account for about half the actual increase in the household savings rate during 1990–2007. 2. China experiences an increasingly severe relative surplus of men in the pre-marital age cohort. The existing literature on its consequences focuses mostly on negative aspects such as crime. In this paper, we provide evidence that the imbalance may also stimulate economic growth by inducing more entrepreneurship and hard work. First, new domestic private firms - an important engine of growth - are more likely to emerge from regions with a higher sex ratio imbalance. Second, the likelihood for parents with a son to be entrepreneurs rises with the local sex ratio. Third, households with a son in regions with a more skewed sex ratio demonstrate a greater willingness to accept relatively dangerous or unpleasant jobs and supply more work days. In contrast, the labor supply pattern by households with a daughter is unrelated to the sex ratio. Finally, regional GDP tends to grow faster in provinces with a higher sex ratio. Since the sex ratio imbalance will become worse in the near future, this growth effect is likely to persist.