That China, one of the lowest income countries in the world at the turn of the 21st century, became a super-power in scientific knowledge in less than two decades is a remarkable development in the history of science. The way China deploys its newly developed scientific resources will drive the direction of science and technology into the foreseeable future and the direction of our increasingly knowledge-based economy.
In our recent work (Chen and Fang, 2018), we evaluate the long-term consequences of China’s family planning policies on the quality of life of the Chinese elderly. We identify the causal impact by exploiting the provincial heterogeneity in implementing the “Later, Longer, Fewer” policies in the early 1970s. We estimate the causal effect on a set of outcomes, including support from children, consumption, and physical and mental health. We find that family planning has either no effect or a slightly positive effect on elderly parents’ physical health status; however, parents who are more exposed to family planning policies report significantly worse mental health.
China’s household savings rate has been persistently high since the early 1980s despite rapid economic growth and contrary to the predictions of the standard consumption theory. Since China has undergone large structural changes in its transition to a market economy, precautionary savings seem to be a plausible contributing factor to the high savings rate. We use China’s large-scale reform of State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the late 1990s as a natural experiment to identify exogenous changes in income uncertainty. We estimate that precautionary savings account for about 40 percent of SOE households’ wealth accumulation from 1995 to 2002.
The housing boom and bust cycle has called attention to the volatility of housing prices and its impact on other markets. We challenge the conventional wisdom that housing prices are the present value of future rents and show that housing price uncertainty can affect household property investments, which in turn affect rent. Using data from Hong Kong and mainland China, we find a significant effect of housing price on rent and draw important implications for monetary and macro-prudential policies.