Economic consequences of One-Child Policy in China

  • Anastasia Boeckx

Student thesis: Master typesMaster en sciences économiques orientation générale à finalité spécialisée


In my work I will analyze the influence of one-child policy on economy and demography of China. To demonstrate the real impact of this policy, I’ll compare the economic and demographic parameters with another country, South Korea.
Why to benchmark these two countries China and South Korea?
According to Hye Tae Kim (2016) they have many similarities. They are known for their rapid development but in different ways. Both are located on the same Eurasian continent; they have a similar culture. The both countries have preferences for sons. This preference is related to Confucian values. That means that the children take care of its old parents and carry family name. The daughters took the name of its husband and went to live in husband’s family. This situation is opposite for sons which carry the parents name and lived with them. We can add also that the women had much less autonomy and in case of labor they earned less than the men. The same problem is a rapidly aging population, urbanization.
China’s policy has a big impact on sex ratio, especially on a the “missing girls “phenomena. The forced abortions and the obligation of contraception decreased significantly the numbers of born girls. This fertility regulation was responsible for girl’s discrimination (das Gupta, 2000). Is this the only one for this sex discrimination? We will provide the evidences that there are different elements. The factors linked to the economic growth such as later marriage age for men and women, more women participation in labor force, higher education level and health standards. All these factors contribute not less to the low fertility rate than the family planning campaigns. In China, the government was persuaded that population growth undermined the economic growth.
The both countries had the family planning program during many years.
In South Korea the government of President Syngham Rhee (1948-60) started the first birth program. The Christian churches also launched such program in 1957. Special agencies were created (public and private) to control these family programs. In the 1973 Child health organization legalized the abortions. In 1983 the government began to suspend the medical insurance for pregnant women who had already three or more children. In the late 1980s Korea Institute of Planning and other agencies distributed free control devices and information, granted special subsides ( such as low-interest housing interest) to parents who agreed to sterilization.
In China population control began in 1956 with the support of Ministry of Public Health. This campaign was interrupted by Great Leap Forward. This was an economic and social campaign launched by Communist party from 1958 to 1961 year. Mao Zedong wanted to transform the agrarian economy to communist society. This agricultural collectivization had to fulfill the quotas based on Mao’s exaggerations. The food output declined significantly and caused the starvation and the deaths of 45 millions of Chinese people. The same number of birth were lost during this Great Chinese Famine. The second campaign took place in 1963-1966 period .During this campaign the birth rate was cut by a half. In 1973 Mai Zedong order to control population more than ever. The one-child policy which began in 1979 gave benefits to one-child families such as cash bonuses, longer maternity and child care. The coercive methods were used such as sterilization and abortions. Contraception were distributed among the population and was controlled by special officials created in order to survey the realization of this strict policy.
For both countries the low fertility rate has negative results. Future elderly population might not be able to rely on their children as it was before. These two societies became an “aged societies”.
la date de réponse28 août 2020
langue originaleAnglais
L'institution diplômante
  • Universite de Namur
SuperviseurJean-Marie Baland (Promoteur)

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