Data for: Divorce, abortion, and the child sex ratio: The impact of divorce reform in China

Published: 9 December 2016| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/fzkhh8nstr.1
Contributor:
Ang Sun

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Abstract of associated article: This paper estimates the effect of China's pro-women divorce reform on sex-selection behavior within marriages. The 2001 reform liberalized divorce in favor of women and secured women's property rights after separation. The paper applies a regression discontinuity analysis on the child sex ratio and finds that the likelihood of having a son after a firstborn daughter decreased by 8.1 percentage points, amounting to a reduction of 11.7% compared with the prior proportion of male children. Further analyses provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that improved divorce options empower women within marriage, and enable them to avoid health-damaging sex-selective abortion. The effect of the divorce reform is stronger in provinces where divorce is comparatively viable because of more lenient family planning policies governing fertility in the next marriage. The effect is also stronger among women who face higher health costs of abortion.

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