Son preference, population policy, and government control: How do they affect women's fertility-related behavior in China, 1979-1988?
In order to further reduce the population growth rate, the Chinese government initiated the strictest national population policy ever adopted, the famous One Child per Couple policy, in January 1979. Using data from the 1988 Two per Thousand Fertility Survey, the present study analyzes how government control, socioeconomic development, and cultural factors affect women's fertility behavior during the subsequent decade. Four aspects of fertility behavior after the first live birth are examined: (1) acceptance of the one child certificate (an indicator of fertility intention); (2) the use of contraceptives (an indicator of compliance with the 1980 marriage law and a means of preventing a subsequent pregnancy); (3) the occurrence of a pregnancy subsequent to the first live birth (a potential violation of the one child population policy); and (4) among those pregnant, the likelihood of an abortion (an indicator of compliance and a means of preventing a second live birth). The analysis reveals that government control, socioeconomic development, and cultural factors have significant influences on fertility behavior. Of these factors, government control is the most important. In addition, government control modifies the relationship between socioeconomic development and fertility behavior. While less important, the influence of son preference on women's fertility is not modified by government control or by socioeconomic development. The implications of these findings for understanding both the success and limitations of China's population policy as well as the uniqueness of the Chinese experience are discussed.
Li, Jiali, "Son preference, population policy, and government control: How do they affect women's fertility-related behavior in China, 1979-1988?" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9223821.