47 Pages Posted: 23 May 2008
Crime rates almost doubled in China between 1992 and 2004. Over the same period, sex ratios (males to females) in the crime-prone ages of 16-25 years rose sharply, from 1.053 to 1.093. Although scarcity of females is commonly believed to be a source of male antisocial behavior, a causal link has been difficult to establish. Sex-ratio variation is typically either small or related to social conditions liable to also affect crime rates. This paper exploits two unique features of the Chinese experience: the change in the sex ratio was both large and mainly in response to the implementation of the one-child policy. Using annual province-level data covering the years 1988-2004, we find that a 0.01 increase in the sex ratio raised the violent and property crime rates by some 5-6%, suggesting that the increasing maleness of the young adult population may account for as much as a third of the overall rise in crime.
Keywords: male-biased sex ratios, crime, one-child policy, China
JEL Classification: J12, J13, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Edlund, Lena and Li, Hongbin and Yi, Junjian and Zhang, Junsen, More Men, More Crime: Evidence from China's One-Child Policy. , Vol. , pp. -, . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1136376 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x