In each of the three waves of the Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports, the US government exempted some products on the originally proposed list from additional duties. Using these exempted products as the counterfactual, we identify modest but heterogeneous impacts of the tariffs on the value of US imports from China. We find a complete pass-through for the first and second waves of tariffs. However, unlike in previous studies, we estimate a very limited tariff pass-through of the third wave of tariffs. Finally, we find little import diversion for the US and significant export diversion for China.
Research suggests that elements of the family environment may have significant associations with cognitive and language development outcomes. Less is known, however, about the family environment in peri-urban China, where rates of cognitive and language delay in children aged 0-3 years are as high as 51% and 54%, respectively. Using data collected from 81 peri-urban households with toddlers aged 18-24 months in Southwestern China, this study examines the associations between stimulating parenting practices, the home language environment, and parental self-efficacy, with cognitive and language development. The results indicate that stimulating parenting practices was significantly associated with cognitive development, the home language environment was significantly associated with language development, and parental self-efficacy was significantly associated with cognitive development. The implications of such findings reveal several mechanisms for supporting healthy cognitive and language development among toddlers from peri-urban China.
Introduction Millions of young rural children in China still suffer from poor health and malnutrition, partly due to a lack of knowledge about optimal perinatal and child care among rural mothers and caregivers. Meanwhile, there is an urgent need to improve maternal mental health in rural communities. Comprehensive home visiting programmes delivered by community health workers (CHWs) can bridge the caregiver knowledge gap and improve child health and maternal well-being in low-resource settings, but the effectiveness of this approach is unknown in rural China. Additionally, grandmothers play important roles in child care and family decision-making in rural China, suggesting the importance of engaging multiple caregivers in interventions. The Healthy Future programme seeks to improve child health and maternal well-being by developing a staged-based curriculum that CHWs deliver to mothers and caregivers of young children through home visits with the assistance of a tablet-based mHealth system. This protocol describes the design and evaluation plan for this programme.
Methods and analysis We designed a cluster-randomised controlled trial among 119 rural townships in four nationally designated poverty counties in Southwestern China. We will compare the outcomes between three arms: one standard arm with only primary caregivers participating in the intervention, one encouragement arm engaging primary and secondary caregivers and one control arm with no intervention. Families with pregnant women or infants under 6 months of age are invited to enrol in the 12-month study. Primary outcomes include children’s haemoglobin levels, exclusive breastfeeding rates and dietary diversity in complementary feeding. Secondary outcomes include a combination of health, behavioural and intermediate outcomes.
After nearly two decades of rising wages for those in the unskilled sectors of China's economy, in the mid-2010s employment and wages in China began to experience new polarizing trends. Using data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, this paper examines trends in multiple sectors and subeconomies of China, revealing the substantial rise of employment in informal, low-skilled services as well as the steady decline of wage growth in the informal subeconomy. At the same time, we find that although employment growth in the formal subeconomy is relatively moderate, wage growth in high-skilled services is steadily rising. These two trends pose a challenge for China, presenting a new and uncertain period of economic change.
Despite major advancements in China’s K-12 educational outcomes over the past several decades, large regional inequities in academic achievement still exist, a proximal cause of which are gaps in teaching quality. Although conventional approaches to improving teaching quality for disadvantaged populations have overall been unsuccessful in China (i.e., student relocation to better-resourced urban schools, attracting high-quality teachers to low-resource rural schools, and rural teacher training), technology-assisted instruction may play a role in bridging these gaps. This paper explores why conventional approaches to improving teaching have not been effective in rural China and then describes the potential applications of technology-assisted instruction based on the small but growing body of empirical literature evaluating such interventions in other low- and middle-income countries. The paper concludes that while other (non-tech) interventions have thus far been ineffective at raising teaching quality, China may be uniquely positioned to harness technology-assisted instruction due to a favorable ecosystem for the scaling of EdTech in rural areas, though much more experimental research is necessary to assess which approaches and technologies are most cost-effective and how to best scale them.
The WHO recommends daily use of micronutrient powder for infants and toddlers at risk of micronutrient deficiencies in low-and-middle-income countries. China has established a micronutrient powder distribution program in many rural townships and villages, yet adherence to micronutrient powder remains suboptimal; a little is known about the behavioral inputs that may influence adherence. This study examines direct and indirect behavioral inputs in micronutrient powder adherence among caregivers in rural western China following the Integrated Behavioral Model (IBM) framework.
Cross-sectional data were collected from April to May 2019 among 958 caregivers of children aged 6 to 24 months in six counties. Data were collected on micronutrient powder adherence behavior, direct behavioral inputs (knowledge and skills, intention, salience, environmental constraints, and habits), and indirect behavioral inputs (attitudes, perceived social norms, and personal agency). Structural equation modeling (SEM) adjusted for sociodemographic covariates was used to evaluate the IBM framework.
Mean micronutrient powder adherence in the previous seven days was 53.02%, and only 22.86% of caregivers consistently fed micronutrient powder from the start of micronutrient powder distribution at six months of age. The SEM model revealed small- to medium-sized effects of salience (β = 0.440, P < 0.001), intention (β = 0.374, P < 0.001), knowledge and skills (β = 0.214, P < 0.001), personal agency (st. effect = 0.172, P < 0.001), environmental constraints (β=-0.142, P < 0.001), and caregiver generation (β = 0.119, P < 0.05) on micronutrient powder adherence. Overall, 54.7% of the variance in micronutrient powder adherence was explained by the IBM framework. Salience had the largest impact on micronutrient powder adherence (Cohen’s f 2 = 0.227). Compared to parent caregivers, grandparents had a higher degree of micronutrient powder adherence on average (P < 0.001), and behavioral inputs were consistent among both parent and grandparent caregivers.
There is a need to improve micronutrient powder adherence among rural caregivers. The IBM framework showed a high degree of explanatory power in predicting micronutrient powder adherence behavior. The findings suggest that increased reminders from doctors regarding micronutrient powder and coaching to improve personal agency in micronutrient powder feeding may increase adherence.
Journal of Comparative Economics,
November 24, 2022
This paper estimates the labor market impacts of parenthood in China. We find that becoming a mother has negative impacts on women's labor outcomes. But the impacts appear to recover sooner than what has been found in other countries. A decomposition exercise suggests that parenthood plays a limited role in explaining the large gender inequality in China's labor market. We document a form of intergenerational arrangement that is prevalent among Chinese families: Upon the arrival of a child, grandmothers substantially reduce market labor supply and provide much of the childcare. Grandparents’ help with childcare likely plays an important role in alleviating the motherhood effect. Suggestive evidence indicates that in return, grandparents who help with childcare receive more intra-family transfers and report higher subjective wellbeing. We further show that the motherhood effect, though relatively small, has increased substantially over the past decades. The rising gender gap in the labor market, the declining state sector that historically provides more flexible accommodations for working mothers, and the abolishment of the one-child policy all suggest a rising burden of motherhood on labor market outcomes.
Infant Behavior and Development,
November 16, 2022
Family-level factors that characterize the home environment are critical inputs to early language and cognitive development, and potential mechanisms for improving developmental outcomes in vulnerable populations. Many studies conducted in high-income and Western settings highlight stimulating parenting, the home language environment, and parental self-efficacy as possible mechanisms of early development, though less is known about how these family-level factors impact child development in low- or middle-income settings. Even less is known about these family-level factors and early childhood development in rural China, where rates of cognitive and language delay in children aged 0–3 years are as high as 45% and 46%, respectively. Using data collected from 77 rural households with children aged 18–24 months in Southwestern China, this study examines the associations between stimulating parenting, the home language environment, and parental self-efficacy, and early cognitive and language development. The results indicate that stimulating parenting was significantly associated with cognitive, language, and overall development; the home language environment was only significantly associated with language development; and parental self-efficacy was not significantly associated with any developmental outcomes. The implications of such findings reveal mechanisms for supporting healthy child development in rural China.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,
November 10, 2022
As digital devices like computers become more widely available in developing countries, there is a growing need to understand how the time that adolescents spend using these devices for recreational purposes such as playing video games is linked with their mental health outcomes. We measured the amount of time that adolescents in rural China spent playing video games and the association of video game time with their mental health. We collected data from primary and junior high schools in a poor, rural province in northwest China (n = 1603 students) and used the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales (DASS-21) to measure mental health symptoms. The results indicated that the average video game time was about 0.69 h per week. There was a significant association between adolescent video game time and poorer mental health. Each additional hour of playing video games also increased the chance of having moderate or above symptoms. Moreover, boys and non-left-behind children had worse mental health if they played more video games. Our study contributes to literature on the links between recreational screen time and mental health, and it sheds light on an issue addressed by recent government legislation to limit the video game time of minors in China.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,
October 25, 2022
Over the past two decades, the literature has shown a clear gradient between child health and wealth. The same health–wealth gradient is also observed among children in China, with a large gap in health between rural and urban children. However, there are still unanswered questions about the main causes of China’s rural–urban child health inequality. This paper aims to review the major factors that have led to the relatively poor levels of health among China’s rural children. In addition to the direct income effect on children’s health, children in rural areas face disadvantages compared with their urban counterparts from the beginning of life: Prenatal care and infant health outcomes are worse in rural areas; rural caregivers have poor health outcomes and lack knowledge and support to provide adequate nurturing care to young children; there are large disparities in access to quality health care between rural and urban areas; and rural families are more likely to lack access to clean water and sanitation. In order to inform policies that improve health outcomes for the poor, there is a critical need for research that identifies the causal drivers of health outcomes among children. Strengthening the pediatric training and workforce in rural areas is essential to delivering quality health care for rural children. Other potential interventions include addressing the health needs of mothers and grandparent caregivers, improving parenting knowledge and nurturing care, improving access to clean water and sanitation for remote families, and most importantly, targeting poverty itself.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,
October 15, 2022
The self-esteem of students may be significantly associated with their academic performance. However, past research in developing contexts on this issue is limited, particularly among early adolescents. Using a sample of 3101 students from rural primary and junior high schools in China, this study measured their self-esteem by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) and explored its association with academic performance. Our findings indicate that students in rural China had both significantly lower self-esteem and a higher prevalence of low self-esteem when compared to past studies of similarly aged students both from urban China and internationally. Furthermore, there was a strong positive correlation between a student’s self-esteem and academic performance. A one-SD increase in RSES score (indicating better self-esteem) was associated with an increase of 0.12 SD in standardized math scores (p < 0.001), and students with low self-esteem (RSES score < 25) scored lower on math tests by 0.14 SD (p < 0.001), which were robust and consistent when employing the propensity score matching method. Our study expands the growing body of empirical evidence on the link between self-esteem and academic performance among rural youth in developing countries and emphasizes the need to improve their self-esteem with the aim of helping them achieve academically.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,
October 6, 2022
As part of its effort to balance economic development with environmental objectives, China has established a new national park system, with the first five locations formally established in 2021. However, as the new parks all host or are proximate to human populations, aligning the socioeconomic needs and aspirations of local communities with conservation aims is critical for the long-term success of the parks. In this narrative review, the authors identify the ecological priorities and socioeconomic stakeholders of each of the five national parks; explore the tensions and synergies between these priorities and stakeholders; and synthesize the policy recommendations most frequently cited in the literature. A total of 119 studies were reviewed. Aligning traditional livelihoods with conservation, limiting road construction, promoting education and environmental awareness, and supporting the development of a sustainable tourism industry are identified as important steps to balance conservation with economic development in the new national parks.
Annual Review of Resource Economics,
October 1, 2022
One out of every three children under age 5 in developing countries lives in conditions that impede human capital development. In this study, we survey the literature on parenting training programs implemented before age 5, with the aim to increase parental investment in human capital accumulation in developing countries. Our review focuses on the implementation and effectiveness of parenting training programs (i.e., training in child psychosocial stimulation and/or training about nutrition). We emphasize the mechanisms that drive treatment-induced change in human capital outcomes and identify the demand- and supply-side behaviors that affect efficacy and effectiveness. Although the literature includes evidence on program features that are associated with successful interventions, further evidence on the dynamics of human capital formation, documentation of medium- to long-term persistence of treatment impacts, and research on the implementation and evaluation of programs at scale are needed to delineate a scalable and inclusive program that provides long-term treatment impacts.
Although eyeglasses have been considered a cost-effective way to combat myopia, the empirical evidence of its impacts on improving learning outcomes is inconsistent. This paper provides empirical evidence examining the effect of providing eyeglasses on academic performance between provinces with a different economic level in western China. Overall, we find a significant impact in Intention-to-Treat analysis and a large and significant local average treatment effect of providing free eyeglasses to students in the poor province but not in the other. The difference in impact between the two provinces is not a matter of experimental design, implementation, or partial compliance. Instead, we find that the lack of impact in the wealthier provinces is mainly due to less blackboard usage in class and wealthier households. Our study found that providing free eyeglasses to disadvantaged groups boosted their academic performance more than to their counterparts.
This study conducts an exploratory analysis of the impacts of a center-based early childhood development intervention on the mental health of caregivers, using data from a cluster-randomized controlled trial of 1664 caregivers (Mage = 36.87 years old) of 6- to 24-month-old children in 100 villages in rural China. Caregivers and children in 50 villages received individual parenting training, group activities and open play space in village parenting centers. The results show no significant overall change in caregiver-reported mental health symptoms after 1 year of intervention. Subgroup analyses reveal heterogeneous effects by caregiver socioeconomic status and identity (mother vs. grandmother). Findings suggest that early childhood development interventions without targeted mental health components may not provide sufficient support to improve caregiver mental health.
Objectives: To examine the association between mental health and executive dysfunction in general adolescents, and to identify whether home residence and school location would moderate that association.
Design: A population-based cross-sectional study.
Setting: A subsample of the Shanghai Children's Health, Education, and Lifestyle Evaluation-Adolescents project. 16 sampled schools in Shangrao city located in downstream Yangtze River in southeast China (December 2018).
Participants: 1895 adolescents (48.8% male) which were divided into three subpopulations: (A) adolescents who have urban hukou (ie, household registration in China) and attend urban schools (UU, n=292); (B) adolescents who have rural hukou and attend urban schools (RU, n=819) and (C) adolescents who have rural hukou and attend rural schools (RR, n=784).
Measures: The Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 was used to assess adolescent mental health symptoms, and the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function (parent form) was applied to measure adolescent executive dysfunction in nature setting.
Results: Mental health symptoms were common (depression: 25.2%, anxiety: 53.0%, stress: 19.7%) in our sample, and the prevalence rates were lower among UU adolescents than those among the RR and RU, with intersubgroup differences in screen exposure time explaining most of the variance. We found the three types of symptoms were strongly associated with executive dysfunction in general adolescents. We also observed a marginal moderating effect of urban-rural subgroup on the associations: UU adolescents with depression (OR 6.74, 95% CI 3.75 to 12.12) and anxiety (OR 5.56, 95% CI 1.86 to 16.66) had a higher executive dysfunction risk when compared with RR youths with depression (OR 1.93, 95% CI 0.91 to 4.12) and anxiety (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.39 to 2.33), respectively.
Conclusions: Rural adolescents experienced more mental health symptoms, whereas urban individuals with mental health problems had a higher executive dysfunction risk.
Resilience can play an important role in enabling disadvantaged students to succeed academically. However, few studies in low-resource contexts have evaluated resilience as a process (including a child’s internal capabilities and external resources, like the internal capabilities of a child’s caregiver) and as an outcome (e.g., academic achievement). In the current study, we examined the associations among students’ self-reported internal capabilities, their external resources (e.g., caregivers’ internal capabilities), and their academic resilience (operationalized as performance on a math test). The study was conducted among 1609 primary and secondary school students in rural China using the Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) to measure internal capabilities. Student CD-RISC scores were positively associated with external resources including caregiver CD-RISC scores, maternal education level, high levels of perceived social support, recreational reading, and involvement in group-based activities at school. A one-point increase in students’ CD-RISC scores was associated with a 0.01 SD increase in math score (p < 0.001), and the math scores of students whose CD-RISC scores were in the bottom quartile were 0.18 SD lower than those of their peers (p < 0.01). High levels of perceived social support and recreational reading were also associated with academic resilience in the adjusted equation. Directions for future research and policy implications are discussed.
International Breastfeeding Journal,
August 20, 2022
Background: The importance of breastfeeding in low- and middle- income countries is well recognized, yet the importance of postnatal mental health on breastfeeding practices and beliefs in these settings has been understudied. This study investigates the associations between maternal mental health problems, breastfeeding beliefs and breastfeeding practices in rural China.
Methods: Cross-sectional data were collected in November and December 2019 from 742 mothers of infants under 6 months old in rural Sichuan Province, China. Maternal mental health (depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms) was assessed using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (short form). Breastfeeding beliefs were assessed using the Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale and Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale (short form). Breastfeeding practices were assessed through a 24-h dietary recall questionnaire. Ordinary least squares regression, multiple logistic regression and heterogeneous effects analyses were used to identify associations between symptoms of mental health problems and breastfeeding outcomes.
Results: The average age of sample infants was 2.7 months. Among mothers, 13% showed symptoms of depression, 16% anxiety, and 9% stress. The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding in the previous 24 h was 38.0%. Depression symptoms were significantly associated with breastfeeding attitude and breastfeeding self-efficacy. Anxiety and stress symptoms were significantly associated with breastfeeding self-efficacy. There were no significant associations between symptoms of mental health problems and exclusive breastfeeding. The heterogeneous effects analyses revealed that less educated mothers with symptoms of stress had lower odds of exclusive breastfeeding than educated mothers without symptoms of stress. Mothers of younger infants had higher odds of exclusive breastfeeding than the mother of older infants, regardless of depression, anxiety, or stress symptoms.
Conclusion: Symptoms of maternal mental health problems are significantly associated with breastfeeding attitude and self-efficacy; however, these symptoms are not associated with breastfeeding practices. Maternal educational level and infant age may play a role in mothers’ breastfeeding practices. To improve breastfeeding practices, interventions should employ a multi-dimensional approach that focuses on improving maternal mental well-being and considers demographic characteristics.
Proper management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is a severe challenge to China's rural health system. This study investigates what influences the poor medical treatment of NCDs (diabetes and angina) by evaluating the “know-do gap” between provider knowledge and practice. To determine whether low levels of provider knowledge low quality of patient care is the primary constraint on the quality of NCDs diagnosis and treatment in rural China. Providers from Village Clinics (VC) and Township Health Centers (THC), and Standardized Patients (SP) were selected by a multi-stage random sampling method. Clinical vignettes were administered to 306 providers from 103 VCs and 50 THCs in rural Sichuan Province. SPs presented diabetes symptoms completed 97 interactions with providers in 46 VCs and 51 THCs; SPs presented angina symptoms completed 100 interactions with providers in 50 VCs and 50 THCs. Process quality, diagnosis quality, and treatment quality were assessed against national standards for diabetes and angina. Two-tailed T-tests and tests of proportions for continuous outcomes and tests of proportions for binary dependent variables were used to compare vignette and SP results. Differences between vignette and SP data calculated the know-do gap. Regression analyses were used to examine the providers/facility characteristics and knowledge/practice associations. THC providers demonstrated significantly more knowledge in vignettes and better practices in SP visits than VC providers. However, levels of knowledge were low overall: 48.2% of THC providers and 28.2% of VC providers properly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, while 23.8% of THC providers and 14.7% of VC providers properly diagnosed angina. With SPs, 2.1% of THC providers and 6.8% of VC providers correctly diagnosed type 2 diabetes; 25.5% of THC providers and 12.8% of VC providers correctly diagnosed angina. There were significant know-do gaps in diagnosis process quality, diagnosis quality, and treatment quality for diabetes (p < 0.01), and in diagnosis process quality (p < 0.05) and treatment quality for angina (p < 0.01). Providers in rural China display low levels of knowledge when treating diabetes and angina. Despite low knowledge, evidence of the know-do gap indicates that low-quality healthcare is the primary constraint on the quality of NCD diagnosis and treatment in rural China. Our research findings provide a new perspective for the evaluation of the medical quality and a technical basis for the development of new standardized cases in the future.
Behavioral strengths and difficulties among children and adolescents may be significantly associated with their academic performance; however, the evidence on this issue for rural youth in developing contexts is limited. This study explored the prevalence and correlates of mental health from three specific dimensions—internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and prosocial behavior—measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and the association of these dimensions with academic performance in math among a sample of 1500 students in rural China. Our findings indicated that students in rural China had worse behavioral difficulties and poorer prosocial skills when compared to most past studies conducted inside and outside of China. In addition, total difficulties and prosocial scores on the SDQ were significantly associated with student math test scores, as students whose externalizing, internalizing, and prosocial scores were in the abnormal range scored lower in math by 0.35 SD, 0.23 SD, and 0.33 SD, respectively. The results add to the growing body of empirical evidence related to the links between social environment, mental health, and academic performance in developing countries, highlighting the importance of students’ mental health for their academic performance, and of understanding risk factors in the social environment among rural youth in developing countries.
The International Journal of Press/Politics,
August 8, 2022
Government censorship—internet shutdowns, blockages, firewalls—impose significant barriers to the transnational flow of information despite the connective power of digital technologies. In this paper, we examine whether and how information flows across borders despite government censorship. We develop a semi-automated system that combines deep learning and human annotation to find co-occurring content across different social media platforms and languages. We use this system to detect co-occurring content between Twitter and Sina Weibo as Covid-19 spread globally, and we conduct in-depth investigations of co-occurring content to identify those that constitute an inflow of information from the global information ecosystem into China. We find that approximately one-fourth of content with relevance for China that gains widespread public attention on Twitter makes its way to Weibo. Unsurprisingly, Chinese state-controlled media and commercialized domestic media play a dominant role in facilitating these inflows of information. However, we find that Weibo users without traditional media or government affiliations are also an important mechanism for transmitting information into China. These results imply that while censorship combined with media control provide substantial leeway for the government to set the agenda, social media provides opportunities for non-institutional actors to influence the information environment. Methodologically, the system we develop offers a new approach for the quantitative analysis of cross-platform and cross-lingual communication.
China has witnessed rapid increases in the skill premium over the last few decades. In this paper, we study the short-run effect of capital goods imports on skill premium in China. The surge in capital goods imports, which embody advanced technology, can explain the rising demand for skill in China. We exploit regional variations in capital goods import exposure stemming from initial differences in import structure and instrument for the capital goods import growth using exchange rate movements. A city at the 75th percentile of the distribution of capital goods imports growth has a higher skill premium by 5 percentage points (0.38 standard deviation) over the one at the 25th percentile. To explore the underlying mechanism, we provide firm-level evidence and show that imported capital goods are skill-complementary.
High adherence and proper usage of micronutrient powder (MNP) influence child nutritional outcomes, yet few studies explore the role of delivery patterns. This study explores the association between MNP delivery patterns and MNP feeding behaviors among Han and minority caregivers in rural Western China.
In August 2019, a total of 1021 caregiver-child pairs were selected through a four-stage cluster sampling process. A cross-sectional survey collected information on caregiver demographics, MNP delivery patterns (channel and frequency), and MNP feeding behaviors (proper usage and adherence). Using logistic regression, we examined which delivery channels and delivery frequencies were associated with proper usage and high adherence.
The results indicated that minority caregivers had lower levels of proper MNP usage than did Han caregivers (89.2%), with Tibetan caregivers’ reporting the lowest rates of adherence (32.6%). Logistic regression revealed that that township-based channel was significantly correlated with proper usage among Tibetan and Yi caregivers (Odds Ratio, OR = 2.0, p < 0.01; and OR = 3.5, p < 0.001). Overall, the township-based and home-visit channels were significantly correlated with high adherence (OR = 1.7 and OR = 2.3, respectively; p < 0.001); delivery frequency was significantly correlated with high adherence (2 months: OR = 2.2, p < 0.001 and ≤ 1 month: OR = 3.5, p < 0.001) but not correlated with proper usage among the whole sample and individual ethnic groups.
In conclusion, the study finds evidence of a correlation between MNP delivery channel and both proper usage and high adherence as well as a correlation between MNP delivery frequency and high adherence.
In many developing countries, low population density may be a major reason for low school participation in rural areas, and the problem is likely to worsen with rapid urbanization. However, few studies have investigated empirically the role of population density in rural education, especially the moderating effect of population density on the outcomes of education policies. This study aims to fill this gap in the literature. From 1999 through the early 2000s, China launched a set of major nationwide policies aimed at universalizing 9-year compulsory education in rural areas. Using differencein- differences and triple difference strategies, we show that the policies significantly increased the probability of junior high school enrollment of rural children and, more importantly, these policies were more effective in densely populated regions. These fi ndings confi rm the importance of population density to rural education.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,
June 13, 2022
This paper examines the impact of parental beliefs on child development outcomes (for both cognitive and social–emotional skills) based on a three-wave longitudinal survey in rural China. The survey waves were conducted when the sample children were 18–30 months, 22–36 months, and 49–65 months, respectively. A total of 815 children and their primary caregivers who participated in all three wave surveys were enrolled in this study. Using difference-in-differences and propensity score matching approaches, the results indicate that strengthened parental beliefs have a positive and significant impact on child social–emotional development. Specifically, between the periods of the Wave 1 survey (when children were 18–30 months old) and the Wave 3 survey (when children were 49–65 months old), and between the Wave 2 survey (when children were 22–36 months old) and the Wave 3 survey, strengthened parental beliefs were causally associated with more favorable child social–emotional scores by 0.44 SD (p < 0.01) and 0.49 SD (p < 0.01), respectively. No significant impact, however, was found between the period of the Wave 1 survey and the Wave 2 survey. In contrast, weakened parental beliefs had a negative and significant impact on child social–emotional development. Specifically, weakened parental beliefs were causally associated with worse child social–emotional abilities by 0.35 SD (p < 0.01), 0.30 SD (p < 0.01), and 0.22 (p < 0.05) for the time period of the Wave 1 to Wave 2, Wave 1 to Wave 3, and Wave 2 to Wave 3, respectively. No significant impact of parental beliefs, however, was found on child cognitive development. In addition, the findings of the mediation analysis show that only a marginal impact of parental beliefs on child social–emotional development can be indirectly explained by parental beliefs through parenting practices. This study calls on policy makers to improve parental beliefs and parenting practices in the hope that it will lead to better child development in rural China.