Carrots and sticks: fertility effects of China's population policies

Am Econ Rev. 2000;90(2):389-92. doi: 10.1257/aer.90.2.389.


For 20 years following 1949, average total fertility per woman in China hovered just above six children. The year 1970 marked the beginning of persistent fertility declines. By 1980, the rate had dropped to 2.75, and since 1992 it has remained under 2. While some of this transition can be accounted for by broad socioeconomic developments, the extent to which it is attributable to China's unique population policies remains controversial. This paper analyzes household data from the 1992 Household Economy and Fertility Survey (HEFS) to provide the first direct microeconomic empirical evidence on the efficacy of these policies.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Family Planning Policy / economics*
  • Family Planning Policy / history
  • Family Planning Policy / trends
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Government Programs / history*
  • Government Programs / trends
  • Health Surveys
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Population Control / economics*
  • Population Control / history
  • Population Control / trends
  • Population Growth
  • Socioeconomic Factors