Event



Are Only Children More Depressed?: Evidence from China’s One Child Policy

Albert Park, Professor of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
| CSCC Conference Room, Fisher-Bennett 345

This paper examines the causal effect of growing up as an only child on subjective well-being outcomes, with the latter measured by elevated depressive symptoms and self-rated happiness. Considering the endogeneity issue of fertility choice within family, we take advantage of the exogenous fertility shock of China’s One-Child Policy, exploiting differences in enforcement of the policy across province and different influence of the policy on different parental cohorts. Since the counterfactual of singletons are first-borns with successive siblings, we pay particular attention to the first-born sample. Our results show that being an only child significantly decreases one’s subjective well-being, and more intensive exposure to the One-Child Policy makes individuals more depressed and less happy. Interestingly, impacts of the One Child Policy on outcomes such as education, work status, and health are not statistically significant.

Open to All.