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“China’s Economy: Theory and Policy” Lecture Series No. 25


Title: Informal Institution Meets Child Development: Clan Culture and Child Labor in China

Speaker: Prof. Zhong Zhao (Renmin University of China)

Time: May 13, 2021, Thursday, 2:00-3:30 p.m.

Location: Room 108, Institute for Advanced Research, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Abstract: Using a national representative sample, the China Family Panel Studies, this paper makes the first attempt to explore the influences of clan culture which was a hallmark culture in Chinese history on the prevalence of child labor in China. We find that clan culture can significantly reduce the incidence of child labor, but clan culture exhibits strong boy bias. The results are driven by boys rather than girls, which reflect its patrilineal nature. Moreover, the impact is stronger for boys from households with lower socioeconomic status and in rural areas. Clan culture reduces the incidence of child labor through risk sharing and easing financial constraints, and helps form social norms to promote human capital investment. Specifically, clan culture can partly offset the exogenous negative shocks and increase the probability of getting aids, especially financial support, for a father of boy in the face of predicaments, and clan culture has increased study time and household educational expenditure for boys. Our results are robust to alternative measures of clan culture, model specifications, and sample selections.