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Academy of Financial Services Annual Meeting 2022

September 27–28, 2022

Virtual Conference via Zoom

Shifting son preference? Insights from women’s time allocation in China

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 at 3:00 PM–3:55 PM EDT add to calendar

Son preference; time allocation; gender equality; female labour force participation; unpaid care work

Short Description

We investigate time allocation to unpaid home production work and paid market work by women in China to shed light on the dynamics of culturally embedded preference for sons over daughters and accompanying gender role norms. Using data from three waves of the China Family Panel Studies, we find weakening child gender bias in time investment that favours boys. Employing Difference-in-Difference analysis, we find such a shift relates closely to the significant change in family planning policy to the selective two-child policy. Our findings lead us to suggest a stages model for the shift in son preference in contemporary China. Analysis of subjective data on mothers’ perceptions of their social status in relation to the gender of their children, corroborate our econometric results.

Lead & Corresponding Author

Dr Jasmine Fang, PhD, Massey University