More Men, More Crime: Evidence from China's One-Child Policy

47 Pages Posted: 23 May 2008  

Lena Edlund

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Hongbin Li

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Department of Economics

Junjian Yi

University of Chicago

Junsen Zhang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

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

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

Lena Edlund (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-5489 (Phone)
212-854-8059 (Fax)

Hongbin Li

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Department of Economics ( email )

Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong

Junjian Yi

University of Chicago ( email )

Junsen Zhang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics ( email )

Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong
852-2609-8186 (Phone)
852-2603-5805 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/eco/staff/jszhang/jzhang.htm

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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