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Women’s Political Participation and Gender Gaps of Education in China: 1950–1990


E2017001                                                             2017-03-03

By Yang Yao and Wuyue You*


Does women’s political participation promote gender equality in education? Using the ratio of female members in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a measure for women’s political participation, we show that female party participation in 1950 had a long-term and positive impact on gender equality of education from 1950 to 1990. Combining the county-level CCP records with individual-level data provided by the 1990 census, we find that for school-age children, contemporary women’s political participation significantly narrows the gender gap by raising girls’ probability of enrollment and completion of school relative to those of boys. The positive effects remain when we use the female party membership in 1950 as an instrument for the contemporary female party membership in individual periods. The effects are also invariant when only the Cultural Revolution period is studied.

JEL: J16, N35, P35

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