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Economic Gender

Economic imbalances in China could be down to having too many Chinese men, remarks Financial Times columnist James Mackintosh, as daughters cost more than sons. Mackintosh cites an article in The Economist which found that “as the country experiences a rising sex ratio imbalance, the increased competition in the marriage market has induced the Chinese, especially parents with a son, to postpone consumption in favor of wealth accumulation. The pressure on savings spills over to other households through higher costs of house purchases. Both cross-regional and household-level evidence supports this hypothesis. This factor can potentially account for about half of the actual increase in the household savings rate during 1990-2007.” He says this is rather depressing. Especially as many Chinese regions (as well as Indian and other) are aborting vast numbers of girls, then finding they have to save more to attract the scarce women to their sons. This combination of having a son and facing dwindling numbers of available females leads to families raising their savings rates. And the effect is more pronounced in rural areas, where it is estimated that half the increase in the savings ration since 1990 is down to the gender imbalance.
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