Essays on family economics and labour economics
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date04/12/2022
In this thesis I study various aspects within the field of family economics and labour economics, with a particular focus on the economic linkage between parents and children. In the first chapter, I aim to bring the role of children into parent’s migration decision process and to look at how this is related to the observed labour market outcome for immigrants in destination country. In the second chapter I study how traditional crops develop son preference and shape gender norms in today’s China. In the third chapter I look at the intergenerational effects of the cultural revolution, with a particular focus on the mother’s side. Chapter 1: Moving for Children: The Labour Market Implications In this chapter I bring together the migration literature with the intergenerational literature. I construct a simply model in which individuals only differ in their main incentive of moving. In particular, I compare migrants who move for children’s economic prospects with migrants who move for own economic prospects. My model suggests that, other things being equal, the reservation wage of migration would be lower for individuals who expect their children to do better in the host country, compared with those who are to maximize own economic prospects. This implies that migrant’s self-selection would be different if their main reason of moving are different. Hence, what one should observe ex post is that, for immigrants who migrate to the host country mainly for their children, their wage is on average lower than that of those who move for own economic prospects. I then test this proposition using the data from IAB-SOEP Migration Sample wave 2015, which surveys a migrant population in Germany and records respondents’ main reason of moving to Germany, their wages before and after migration, as well as other demographic characteristics. The empirical results support the proposition in that migrants who moved to Germany for their children on average earn approximately 240 euro less (monthly) compared to those who move mainly for own economic prospects. The results are statistically significant at 1% and are robust to different sample selection and standard errors. I also find that immigrants who move for children are more willing to stay in Germany permanently. This chapter contributes to the literature by bringing the role of children into migration. The implications of the results would be that it is important to distinguish individual’s incentive of moving at the first place, as different incentives would lean towards different outcome, even though the individuals are identical in other aspects. Chapter 2: Son Preference and the Crops: The Case of China We study the historical origins of son preference and gender bias in China. We fist develop a tractable model to characterize the effect of rice and wheat production, which are traditionally the two major crops in China, on parents’ choice over their off-springs’ sex ratio. Our basic idea is that, compared to wheat, growing rice requires a higher level of collaboration in which men play a relatively more active role than women, and hence households participating in rice production will have stronger preference towards having more sons. The main prediction of our model is that male-to-female sex ratio is increasing in the gap between the suitability of growing rice versus growing wheat. We then test this prediction using geographic information system data and population census data. We show that, consistent with the prediction of our model, provinces/prefectures where the gap between rice and wheat suitability is lager also have a higher male-to-female sex ratio at birth in both year 2000 and 2010. Our results provide a possible explanation on why traditionally son preference is more serve in south China than the north. We further use the data from Chinese General Social Survey and find that individuals from provinces with lager gap between rice and wheat suitability have less equal gender norms. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to look at geographical variation in the suitability of growing traditional crops on son preference and gender norm in China. Chapter 3: Mother Matters: Class Based Marriage Patterns and Intergenerational Outcomes The Chinese Cultural Revolution (CR) from 1966 to 1976 is one of the extreme attempts in human history to eradicate education inequality between the wealthy (elite class) and the poor (non-elite class), and to shut off intergenerational transmission. In this chapter, we examine whether the revolution is effective in reducing inequality in the long-run. Using China Family Panel Studies, we link the parent generation (born between 1940-1970), which are cohorts that are most affected by the CR, with their children (born between 1970-1990). we first find that both parents’ class are significantly correlated with children’s educational outcomes. In particular, children whose mother (father) is an elite class have on average more years of schooling than their peers whose mother (father) is a non-elite class. We then show that for the parent generation, the CR increases the probability of an elite class person marry someone from his/her own class, while the over-all marriage rate is not affected. The CR thus unexpectedly decrease social mobility by increasing class-based assortative mating. We also propose some suggestive evidence on explaining why mother’s class matters for children’s outcome. We show that, an elite-class mother is less likely to be financially constrained and has stronger social networks, both of which are important determinants of children’s educational outcomes.