Working Papers

Fertility, Child Gender, and Parental Migration Decision: A New Semi-parametric Method, (with Zibin Huang and Junsen Zhang, Reject and Resubmit at The Review of Economics and StatisticsJob Market Paper  [Link]

Abstract: We estimate the effects of both the number and the gender of children on rural-to-urban parental migration in China. We propose a new semi-parametric method to solve an identification difficulty in previous studies and estimate the two effects separately at the same time. We find that having more children promotes rural-to-urban parental migration. Moreover, parents respond more significantly to the presence of boys than to the presence of girls. Without considering the effect of child gender, the instrumental variable estimate for the effect of children number will be strongly downward biased and result in a misleading policy implication.

The Chinese Communist Members Have Higher Abilities: Selection or Cultivation, (with Junjian Yi and Congyi Zhou)

Abstract: In this study, we investigate the party membership selection in China. Researches in political economics provide both theoretical and empirical evidence that society benefits from competent leadership. However, studies remain inconclusive on political selection in developing countries like China. We show that party members in China have both higher cognitive ability and non-cognitive ability. Moreover, we exploit the within-twin fixed-effect method to examine whether the advantage of being a party member comes from positive selection or cultivation. The result indicates that the superior ability of party members compared to the others mainly comes from the positive selection. We further use the standard twin method, the ACE and GE model, to study the relative contribution of genetic and environmental influences to individual differences in party membership.


The Cross-spousal Effect of Education on Health(with Rufei Guo, Junjian Yi, and Junsen Zhang, Published at the Journal of Development Economics) [Link]

Abstract: This paper studies the cross-spousal effect of education on health. We address the endogeneity of education that arises from one’s own unobserved endowment using the within-twin fixed-effect method. We explore unique information on spousal health at both wedding and survey times to investigate the role of spousal unobserved endowment. We find that wives’ education reduces husbands’ consumption on cigarettes and alcohol, increases exercise frequency, lowers the probability of being overweight, and decreases the number of chronic diseases. By contrast, the effect of husbands’ education on wives’ health is weak.