Consequences of Low Fertility: China's One-Child Policy and Personality

Toni Falbo, University of Texas at Austin
James Pustejovsky, University of Texas at Austin

One consequence of low fertility is that more children grow up without siblings. These only children are thought to lack key experiences essential to the development of desirable personalities. In China, the implementation of the One-Child Policy along with rapid socioeconomic development has led to an increase in the proportion of only children. Recent Instrumental Variable (IV) analyses have indicated that Beijing adults who are only children have undesirable personalities. This paper describes the application of fixed-effects IV analyses on personality data collected in 1990 in four provinces of China: Anhui, Beijing, Gansu, and Hunan. The results indicate substantial heterogeneity in only-child effects, by source of personality evaluation, as well as by province, region and county. For example, urban only children in Beijing evaluated themselves higher, while urban only children in Hunan were rated by their peers more negatively. The results suggest complex personality consequences of low fertility.

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Presented in Session 47: Low Fertility