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China's Skewed Sex Ratio and the One-Child Policy

  • Charis Loh (a1) and Elizabeth J. Remick (a2)

The media and generalist scholarly work have created a conventional wisdom that China's one-child policy is the driver of the country's skewed sex ratio and so should be relaxed in order to ameliorate the imbalance. However, we show through historical, domestic and international comparisons that son preference, which we treat as an observable and measurable variable made up of labour, ritual, inheritance and old-age security practices and policies, is crucial to explaining the imbalanced sex ratio at birth. China's sex ratio cannot fully normalize without addressing son preference.

长期以来, 欧美媒体和写作普及型读物的政治学家们造就了一种共识 — 中国的计划生育政策是导致出生性别比严重失衡的主要原因, 而只有放宽这一政策才能改善现状。然而本文作者通过对历史的研究以及对国内和国际状况的比较考察发现男孩偏好更能解释目前中国出生人口性别比失衡的问题。男孩偏好并不仅只是一种观念, 作者将其理解为一种可观察到并可衡量的社会学变量。这其中包含了与劳动能力, 礼仪规范, 财产继承, 以及养老保障相关的多种政策和实践。中国只有解决了男孩偏好的问题才能实现出生性别比的完全正常化。

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