China's One Child Policy and International Trade: The Effect of Distorted Sex Ratios on Comparative Advantage

46 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2020

See all articles by Ke Gu

Ke Gu

York University

Andrey Stoyanov

York University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 4, 2020

Abstract

Since the one-child policy (OCP) was introduced in China in 1979, many more boys than girls have been born, changing the relative female labor supply. We study the effect of this change on China's international trade. Differences in sex ratios across cities, caused by differences in OCP enforcement, affect availability of gender-dependent skills. These regional differences interact with sector-specific differences in intensities in gender-dependent skills. Other things equal, cities with higher female population share specialize in industries which use female labor intensively. We empirically confirm this insight for the sample of 212 Chinese cities, using spatial variation in OCP stringency as an exogenous female labor supply shifter. We interpret our results as highlighting the importance of labor force gender composition for industry's productivity. Our results imply that the effect of gender imbalances in labor supply on labor market outcomes, observed in many parts of the world, can be mitigated through international trade by utilizing relatively abundant type of labor in export-oriented industries.

Keywords: China's one child policy, altered sex ratios, comparative advantage, international trade, gender-dependent skills, social skills, physical skills

JEL Classification: F14, F16, J24

Suggested Citation

Gu, Ke and Stoyanov, Andrey, China's One Child Policy and International Trade: The Effect of Distorted Sex Ratios on Comparative Advantage (January 4, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3531993 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3531993

Ke Gu

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Andrey Stoyanov (Contact Author)

York University - Department of Economics ( email )

4700 Keele St.
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
174
Abstract Views
765
Rank
320,802
PlumX Metrics