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Adolescent Political Exposure and Gender Preferences in Adulthood:A Study of Chinese Counties during 1950-1990


E2018001                                                2018-01-02

Yang Yao
Cheung-Kong Scholar and Boya Chair Professor National School of Development, Peking University&China Center for Economic Research
Wuyue You
Assistant Professor School of Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics


Adolescence is a critical stage for people to form their worldviews. This paper studies how exposure to female political participation in adolescent years affected people, particularly women’s fertility and nurturing decisions in their adulthood, using data from Chinese counties for the period 1950-1990. A causal relationship is established between more active female political participation (FP),measured by female membership in the Chinese Communist Party in a woman’s adolescence, and a more balanced gender mix of her children, as well as a weaker tendency of her family’s gender selection under the One-child Policy. Further analysis suggests that this had happened by changing adolescents’ gender preferences, particularly through high school education. In addition, the positive role of adolescent FP is found not to be channeled through by contemporary FP.

Keywords: Early life experiences, female political participation, sex imbalances

JEL classification: J16, N35, P35

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