The Economic Consequences of China’s One Child Policy

By Sam Hansen. Stanford University. 

In the aftermath of the Mao-era, China enacted the one-child policy to curb its staggering population growth and mitigate the associated consequences of poverty, resource-depletion, pollution, and urban sprawl. Though it dramatically reduced China’s fertility rate, the policy had many unforeseen consequences such as a gender gap of 30 million more men than women, forced abortions, and increased crime rates (Brooks 1). While the one-child policy was justifiable in 1979, its continuation will increase China’s elderly dependency ratio in the future and stifle innovation in the workforce. Ultimately, such factors will reduce China’s global competitive edge and suppress its future economic growth. Therefore, China must gradually loosen the one-child policy while balancing the risks of excessive population expansion.

Read the full paper here.