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时间:2013-12-29    浏览量:1524
 Carol H. Shiue. 2013. Human capital and fertility in Chinese clans before modern growth.  Working Paper 19661. National Bureau of Economic Research
      Abstract: This paper studies the pre-industrial origins of modern-day fertility decline.  The setting is in Anhwei Province, China over the 13th to 19th centuries, a period well before the onset of China’s demographic transition and industrialization. There are four main results. First, we observe non-Malthusian effects in which high income households had relatively fewer children.  Second, higher income households had relatively more educated sons, consistent with their greater ability to support major educational investments. Third, those households that invested in education had fewer children, suggesting that households producing educated children were reallocating resources away from child quantity and towards child quality.  Fourth, over time, demand for human capital fell significantly. The most plausible reason is the declining returns to educational investments. The findings point to a role for demography in explaining China’s failure to industrialize early on.
数据来源: Tongcheng Genealogies
      Conclusion: Since the process of industrialization involves dramatic increases in the return to human capital, the critical issue in terms of long-run development is the evolution of non-Malthusian dynamics in families investing in human capital. In China, there is evidence of fertility control for human capital objectives starting as early as the17th century. This presents new evidence that child quantity quality tradeoffs are not necessarily the direct consequence of industrialization, which had not yet occurred in China.
      Among Chinese families with at least some attributes of status, family size was smaller, and educational attainment higher. Two reasons are behind this. First, more educated families were more likely to produce more educated sons. This is consistent with the notion of costs of education determining incentives to invest in education, since more educated families were likely to have better access to channels of education. Second, higher educational attainment was typically associated with lower birth order, so constraining family sizes increased average education.
      An incidental result of the examination system was that there was the emergence of services that could be provided By men who tried but failed the examinations—doctors, teachers, and writers. Ultimately, however, the government controlled the number of high paying occupations that could be had upon earning an education. Over time, as population increased, the number of such opportunities declined. One might speculate how increasing opportunities for human capital investments should have resulted in the reverse pattern of human capital accumulation for China, in which education continues to increase rather than decrease. In this sense, it may be more appropriate to ask not what triggers the change in behavior from the Malthusian era to today, but rather what allows it to spread within the population.
       Further research on other economies within and outside of China is needed to determine how general these findings may be. If Malthusian economies of the past were not purely, and similarly Malthusian, then differences that lie in the pre-industrial era might help to explain why modern technologies do not give all countries the same footing to develop further. These implications are important to our understanding of long-run growth.
(By 杨帆)
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