Divorce, Abortion and Children's Sex Ratio: The Impact of Divorce Reform in China

48 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2014

See all articles by Ang Sun

Ang Sun

Renmin University of China

Yaohui Zhao

Peking University

Abstract

This paper explores how the relative circumstances of men and women following marital dissolution affect sex-selection behavior within marriages. China's 2001 divorce reform liberalized divorce in favor of women and secured women's property rights after separation. We use this improvement in women's bargaining power in marriage for a regression discontinuity analysis of the demand for sex-selective abortions. We show that the increase in women's bargaining power reduces the propensity to have a son after a firstborn daughter by 8.9 percentage points. We also find that the effect is larger for women with higher health risks.

Keywords: gender inequality, intra-household allocation, divorce law

JEL Classification: D13, J12, J13, J16

Suggested Citation

Sun, Ang and Zhao, Yaohui, Divorce, Abortion and Children's Sex Ratio: The Impact of Divorce Reform in China. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8230. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2450421

Ang Sun (Contact Author)

Renmin University of China ( email )

Room B906
Xianjin Building
Beijing, 100872
China

Yaohui Zhao

Peking University ( email )

Department of Economics
Beijing 100871
China

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