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"Family planning, son preference and domestic violence : evidence from the “Later, Longer, Fewer” campaign in China"

Abstract : This paper examines the impact of China’s “Later, Longer, Fewer (LLF)” policy on domestic violence against women. The LLF policy, strictly implemented in the 1970s, has contributed to a sharp decline in birth rates at a time where ultrasound technology was not available. Couples were prompted to have two children - three times less than the 1960s fertility rate, to marry later and to increase birth spacing. Such a policy may increase women’s labor market outcomes yet may fuel intra-household conflict in a context where son-preference is high, sons are a crucial component of social status, and women are held responsible for a child’s gender. Utilizing the temporal and regional variation of the implementation of LLF policy, we find that women who were more exposed to the LLF policy have experienced a higher likelihood of being abused by their husband. This result is mainly driven by the decline in the number of children and is not related to the other fertility changes brought by the LLF policy - the increase in birth spacing or the postponing of marriage age.

avril 2023 :

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