The authors thank two anonymous referees, Stephan Klasen and John Knight, for comments and suggestions. Remaining errors are their own.
China's One-Child Policy and ‘the Mystery of Missing Women’: Ethnic Minorities and Male-Biased Sex Ratios*
Article first published online: 17 AUG 2010
© Blackwell Publishing Ltd and the Department of Economics, University of Oxford, 2010
Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics
Volume 73, Issue 1, pages 21–39, February 2011
How to Cite
Bulte, E., Heerink, N. and Zhang, X. (2011), China's One-Child Policy and ‘the Mystery of Missing Women’: Ethnic Minorities and Male-Biased Sex Ratios. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 73: 21–39. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0084.2010.00601.x
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 17 AUG 2010
- Final Manuscript Received: March 2010
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.