Marrying Minorities for More Children: One-Child Policy and Cross-Ethnic Marriage in China

Yi Zhou, University of California, Berkeley
Wei Huang, Harvard University

In most parts of China, couples with at least one side being an ethnic minority are allowed to give birth to two or more babies. We investigate whether this privilege enhances minority groups’ value in the marriage market. For the Han people with strong quantity preference or gender preference, this policy will strengthen their incentive to marry minority individuals. It means, as the fine for violating the one-child policy has increased, so has the incentive to marry minority individuals. Using the variation of fines across different places and times to perform difference-in-difference tests on the effects of the one-child policy with marriage, we find that the proportion of Han-minority marriages increased significantly after local governments increased the fine. We also find that the education level of Han people in new Han-minority families decreased after the fine increased, which implies that a strong selection effect exists in marriage matching.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households