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Little Emperors: Behavioral Impacts of China's One-Child Policy



Assessing Singletons The one-child policy introduced by the government of China in 1979 increased the proportion of urban families with an only child; later referred to as "little emperors" in media reports. In 2010, Cameron et al. (p. 953 , published online 10 January) recruited approximately 400 residents of Beijing who had been born either before the implementation of the policy (1975 and 1978) or after (1980 and 1983). Using economic games to measure trust, risk, and willingness to compete, they found that the post-1979 cohorts were less trusting and less willing to compete and also more risk averse.
Title: Little Emperors: Behavioral Impacts of China’s One-Child Policy
Authors: L. Cameron
, N. Erkal
, L. Gangadharan
, and X. Meng
Abstract: We document that China’s One-Child Policy, one of the most radical approaches to
limiting population growth, has produced significantly less trusting, less trustworthy, more risk-
averse, less competitive, more pessimistic, and less conscientious individuals. Our data were
collected from economics experiments conducted with 421 individuals born just before and just
after the One-Child Policy’s introduction in 1979. Surveys to elicit personality traits were also
used. We use the exogenous imposition of the One Child Policy to identify the causal impact of
being an only child, net of family background effects. The One-Child Policy thus has significant
ramifications for Chinese society.
One Sentence Summary: China’s One-Child Policy has produced less trusting, less trustworthy,
more risk-averse, less competitive, more pessimistic and less conscientious individuals.
Main Text: China’s One-Child Policy (OCP) restricts the number of children that urban couples
can have to one, with exceptions for those from ethnic minorities or with a severely disabled
child. The policy has given rise to a land of “little emperors” whose parents dote on them
exclusively. This has led to widespread concern within China about the social skills of this
generation and the observation that these children tend to be more self-centred and less
cooperative (1-3). This can be seen in developments such as employers including phrases like
“no single children” in job advertisements (4). In March 2007, 30 delegates in the Chinese
People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) called on the government to abolish the
Department of Econometrics, Monash University, Clayton, Vic., 3800, Australia.
Department of Economics, University of Melbourne, Vic., 3010, Australia.
Department of Economics, Monash University, Clayton, Vic., 3800, Australia.
Research School of Economics, College of Business and Economics, Australian National University, ACT 0200
Correspondence to:
policy (5). Their concerns centred on “social problems and personality disorders in young
The question of the behavioral consequences of not having siblings has been of interest in
developmental psychology for many decades. China’s One-Child Policy provides us with a
natural experiment that allows us to identify the causal impact of being a single child. Pro-social
development is believed to be shaped by parents as well as by social interactions with peers,
including siblings (6). Different relationships with parents and lack of interaction with siblings
thus have been identified in the psychology literature as two reasons why only children may
develop differently from their counterparts with siblings (7). For example, parents of only
children may be more responsive to their needs which may produce a greater sense of security,
confidence and intellectual competence (8,9). Parents of only children may also be more able to
interact with their children in ways that promote desirable development (10). More attention
from parents can however come with downsides in terms of higher expectations and pressure to
succeed in life (11). Only children are often viewed as disadvantaged as a result of “sibling
deprivation,” which may lead to their being self-centered, less cooperative, and less likely to get
along with peers (12).
In this paper, we use techniques from experimental economics to measure behavioral
differences between the pre- and post-OCP generations. Behavior in economic games has been
widely shown to be correlated with actions outside the experimental setting (13-18). We
investigate the impact of the OCP on altruism, trust, trust-worthiness, risk attitudes and
competitiveness. The OCP can be thought of as a natural experiment which enables us to
separate out the effect of being an only child from the effect of family background. In addition to
our experimental results, personality survey questions reveal that the OCP cohorts are also
substantially more pessimistic, less conscientious, and possibly more neurotic.
Participant Sample: We conducted experiments with participants recruited from the general
population of Beijing where the policy is strictly enforced (19). The OCP was introduced in
1979. We required participants to be born in either 1975 or 1978 (our pre-OCP cohorts) or in
1980 or 1983 (our post-OCP cohorts). Participants were also required to have both parents with
urban residency status (hukou) at the time of the participant’s birth. This sampling ensures that
those in the post-OCP cohorts were subject to the strictly enforced policy and that all the cohorts
are similar with respect to their parental hukou status. The final sample consists of 421 subjects
spread evenly across the birth cohorts 1975, 1978, 1980 and 1983, with gender balance within
these cohorts.
A post-experiment participant survey collected demographic and socio-economic
information. We test the representativeness of our sample by comparing it with the Beijing
subsample of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2009 Urban Household Survey (UHS)
data. Our sample is better educated than the general population but otherwise similar (Table S1).
We carefully control for education in the empirical specifications below.
Table 1 shows the proportion of only children in each birth cohort. This increased from
27% in the 1975 cohort to 91% for the cohort born in 1983. The average number of siblings
decreased from 0.97 to 0.12 over the same period (20). Note that the proportion of single
children had increased prior to the 1979 introduction of the policy as a result of other non-
compulsory population growth policies that were pre-cursors to the OCP (Figure S1, 21). In this
paper, we thus identify the behavioral impact of the OCP relative to the non-compulsory fertility
policies implemented prior to the OCP.
Although in later years the policy undoubtedly reduced the size of extended families,
extended family size differs only slightly between the pre- and post-OCP cohorts we study. The
number of cousins declines slightly from an average of 7.4 to 7.0 cousins (Table 1). We are thus
identifying the impact of growing up as an only child, not the impact of having a smaller
extended family.
Measurement of Behavior - Experiments: The experiments we conduct are standard games
from the economics literature. The Dictator Game (22) is designed to elicit the extent of altruism
amongst participants. The Trust Game
In the
elicits the extent to which participants are able to trust one
another and the extent of their trust-worthiness (23). These games are explained in the
supplementary materials.
Risk Game
In the
(24), each participant is given 100 yuan (which is approximately
US$15) and the choice to put any amount between 0 and 100 yuan into an ‘investment”, which
yields triple the amount invested with 50% probability and 0 with 50% probability. More risk-
averse participants will invest less in the risky option. The outcome of the investment is decided
by the flip of a coin at the completion of the session.
Competition Game, participants are asked to add up as many sets of five two-digit
numbers as possible in five minutes (25). The numbers are randomly generated and presented in
rows. Participants write the total in a blank box provided at the end of the row. Calculators
cannot be used, but scrap paper is provided for hand-written calculations.
Participants are asked to choose between two different payment schemes. Option 1 is a
piece-rate which pays 5 yuan for every sum correctly completed. In Option 2, payments are
determined in a competitive way. Each participant is randomly and anonymously paired with
someone else in the room. S/he is paid 10 yuan for every sum correctly completed if s/he
completes more sums correctly than the person with whom s/he is paired, 5 yuan if both
participants complete the same amount of correct sums, and 0 yuan if s/he loses the competition.
Results: Impact of Being Born under the OCP Figure 1 presents the unconditional differences
in behavior between participants born before and after the OCP, for each of the games. The
underlying data are presented in Table S2 in the supplementary materials. Those born under the
OCP share slightly less of the endowment in the dictator game with the other player (40.1% of
the endowment on average as compared to 43.4% sent by those born before the policy’s
introduction). The t-test of difference in means is statistically insignificant (p=0.11). OCP
participants on average were less trusting, sending less to the other player (46.1% versus 50.6%)
and returning less than those not born under the policy (30.4% versus 35.4%). Both of these
differences are statistically significant.
OCP participants invested significantly less in the riskier investment (58.1% versus
66.4%). In the competition game, many fewer OCP participants chose to compete than those
born before the policy (44.2% versus 51.8%). This difference is substantial but not statistically
significant (p=0.12).
Differences in competitiveness may reflect beliefs in one’s ability. Participants were
asked in which performance quintile they expected themselves to be relative to others in the
room. There is no significant difference in this self-reported ranking between the pre- and post-
OCP cohorts although participants born under the OCP completed significantly more sums
correctly than their counterparts (Table S2). This is consistent with the findings in the literature
that only children perform better academically (26).
The effects discussed above are simple mean differences. These could be due to
differences in the demographic backgrounds of the pre- and post-OCP samples. To examine the
OCP effects net of these observable characteristics, we estimate an econometric model where we
control for participants’ gender and education, maternal education, and whether the individual
was born in Beijing, in addition to the main variable of interest, an indicator of whether the
participant was born under the OCP. The summary statistics for the control variables are
presented in Table S3. Table 2 reports the estimation results. We find that controlling for the
demographic and family background variables, the unconditional effects we observed in Figure 1
above persist in terms of signs, magnitudes, and significance levels. The only difference from the
unconditional estimates is that the regression results indicate that the lesser propensity for those
who were born after the OCP to choose to compete becomes statistically significant once one
controls for demographic characteristics.
The OCP indicator is defined according to birth cohort and hence is highly correlated
with age. There is no evidence that age has a strong systematic effect on behavior in experiments
of the type we conduct, particularly over the relatively small age range in our sample (24, 27-32).
Age is not a determinant of behavior within the pre- and post-OCP cohorts (Table S8). Our
results are also largely unaffected when we limit the potential for age effects by focusing on just
the 1978 and 1980 cohorts (Table S9). We thus conclude that age effects are not driving our
results. Consistent with this result, marital status, being a parent, age of parents, and people
potentially becoming more capitalistic over time do not seem to explain our results either (Tables
S10 and S11).
Identifying the Causal Impact of Growing up Without Siblings Although the main effect of
the OCP is to grow up as a single-child, the coefficients we estimate in Table 2 are not estimates
of the effect of being a single child as being a single child is not a unique characteristic of the
after cohort. Many before cohort individuals are also single children and some children born
after the policy are not single children (see Table 1). The coefficient on the OCP indicator is
thus the average behavioral effect of the OCP across the population.
If being a single child were exogenous, then the effect of growing up without siblings
would be estimated consistently from:
= α + βX
+ φSingle
+ υ
where Y
is the behavior of interest, Single
is an indicator for being an only child, α, β, and φ are
coefficients to be estimated and ν
is a random error term. The coefficient of interest would be φ.
Being a single child in the pre-policy cohort was however largely a choice of parents.
Thus, the coefficient on Single
in Equation (1) would pick up not only the effect of being a
single child but also the effect of any omitted family background variables which influence the
probability of being an only child. This is a problem if the unobserved parental characteristics
which make parents choose to have one child also affect individuals’ behavioral outcomes via
genetic or “nurture” channels, which is likely. The variable Single
is thus endogenous.
We can however exploit the exogeneity of the imposition of the OCP and use the
indicator of whether one was born under the policy, D
, to instrument for the endogenous
variable Single
. We can thus identify the causal effect of growing up without siblings as a result
of the OCP. That is, we estimate the equations below using an instrumental variables (IV)
approach. Equation (2b) is the first-stage regression.
= α + βX
+ φSingle
+ υ
= η + δX
+ κD
+ u
where η, δ, and κ are coefficients to be estimated, u
is a random error term and the other terms
are defined as above.
Provided the instrument satisfies a few assumptions (see section 2.1 in the
supplementary materials), the IV estimate of φ can be interpreted as the Local Average
Treatment Effect (LATE) of growing up as only children because of the OCP (33).
The IV results are reported in Table 3. In every case where we identified a difference in
behavior between the pre- and post-OCP cohorts, being an only child as a result of the OCP is
also shown to have a significant causal impact on behavior. The coefficients on being an only
child are over double that of the coefficients on the indicator of whether one was born under the
OCP reported in Table 2. Individuals who are only children as a result of the policy sent on
average 16 percentage points less of the endowment to the other player and returned 11
percentage points less of what they received in the trust game; invested 19 percent less of the
endowment in the risky option in the risk game; and were 20 percentage points less likely to
choose the competitive option in the competition game. In terms of standard deviations of the
dependent variable, being a single child is associated with a decrease of 0.58 standard deviations
of the percentage sent in the trust game, 0.44 standard deviations of the percentage returned in
the trust game, 0.75 standard deviations of the percentage invested in the risky option, and 0.41
standard deviations of the probability of competing. These are thus sizeable effects.
Personality Traits: In the post-experiment survey, participants were asked a number of
questions that seek to assess their personality type and outlook on life.
Participants were asked “What do you think are the chances that it will be sunny
tomorrow? Please write a number from 0 to 100, where 0 means ‘absolutely no chance’ and 100
means ‘absolutely certain’. Responses to this question are widely used as an indicator of
optimism (34). We find that those born under the OCP and those who grew up as single children
as a result of the OCP are significantly less optimistic than others (Table S15).
The post-experiment survey also implemented the “Big Five Inventory” (BFI), which
contains 44 questions designed to categorize people in terms of openness (inventive/curious
versus consistent/cautious); conscientiousness; extraversion; agreeableness; and neuroticism
(sensitive/nervous versus secure/confident). The five broad factors together encompass most
known personality traits and the 44 questions are used to construct scores for each of these traits
(35). We examine to what extent these traits are determined by the OCP and single-child status.
Being born under the OCP and growing up as a single-child as a result of the OCP are associated
with a higher neuroticism score and a lower conscientiousness score (Table S15).
These effects are not small: 0.69 standard deviations of our optimism indicator, 0.52
standard deviations of the conscientiousness score and 0.71 standard deviations of the
neuroticism score. The result for neuroticism is consistent with the finding that positive sibling
relationships moderate the relationship between stressful life events and internalizing behaviors
(36). The finding that conscientiousness is lower is counter to the argument in the empirical
literature in psychology that single children have a greater motivation to achieve, but it is
consistent with Chinese parents’ views of their only children (37).
Like the experimental results, our results for conscientiousness and optimism are
qualitatively similar when estimated using just the 1978 and 1980 cohorts, and age is not a
significant determinant within pre- and post-OCP periods. The results for neuroticism are less
robust to checks for age effects (Table S16).
Implications: Previous research has shown that non-cognitive attributes like conscientiousness,
neuroticism, and optimism are important determinants of educational attainment, labor market
outcomes, health and marriage and divorce (38-40). Pro-social behavior is consistently seen to
be an important determinant of social capital and plays a role in institutional development (41).
A willingness to take risks is an important component of entrepreneurship (17). Our data show
that being an only child as a result of the OCP is associated with taking less risk in the labor
market (Table S19).
While our findings are obtained from a comparison of cohorts in Beijing born directly
around the time of the policy’s introduction, our results are generalizable to other urban areas of
China where the OCP was strictly implemented. Previous work suggests that differences
between only children and others in Beijing is similar to that in other urban areas (26). The effect
of the policy on the behavior of people born long after the policy’s introduction may however
differ from what we find here as later cohorts will have grown up with very limited extended
family and in a society dominated by only children. Under such circumstances, we would expect
that the policy’s effect would, if anything, be magnified.
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Acknowledgements: We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Australian Research Council.
The data used in this paper will be made available from an approved database. The Rumici data
is available at All authors contributed equally to this paper.
Figure 1: Behavioral Consequences of the One Child Policy. Mean differences in
behavior between participants born before and after the One Child Policy. The p-values
reported in parentheses are from t- tests of differences in means. Error bars are mean+/-SEM.
%SentinDictatorGame %SentinTrustGame %returnedinTrustGame %investedinriskyoption %choosingtocompete
BornBeforeOneChildPolicy BornAfterOneChildPolicy
Table 1: Demographic Composition by Cohort.
We present means of variables by birth
cohort, and pre- and post-One Child Policy.
Column (2) reports means for those born in 1978 but
excludes those born in 1978 who report they are an only child as a result of the policy.
Table 2: Estimation results.
We estimate
where Y
is a behavioral
outcome observed in the experiments, and X
is a vector of control variables which includes participants’
gender and education, maternal education, and whether the individual was born in Beijing. The main
variable of interest is D
, which equals 1 if an individual is born after the introduction of the OCP and zero
otherwise. The coefficient γ identifies any differences between those born before and after the policy
and is our estimate of the behavioral impact of the OCP. Columns (1) (4) report coefficients from tobit
estimation with lower censoring at 0 and upper censoring at 100. Column (5) presents marginal effects
from a probit on whether to compete or not. Robust standard errors are shown in square brackets. *, **,
*** indicate statistical significance at the 10%, 5% and 1% levels respectively.
Trust & Trustworthiness
Dictator Game
Trust Game
Risk Game
% Sent
% Sent
% Returned
% Invested
Choose to
One-Child policy
University or above
3-year college
Born in Beijing
Mother with 3-year college
Mother with university or above
Table 3: Causal Impact of Being an Only Child.
We present results from instrumental variables estimation. We use
an indicator of being born under the One Child Policy as an instrument for being an only child. Columns (1)-(4) present the results of IV
Tobit estimation. Column (5) presents marginal effects from IV Probit estimation.
Robust standard errors are shown in square
brackets. *, **, *** indicate statistical significance at the 10%, 5% and 1% levels respectively.
Trust Trustworthiness
Dependent Variables:
(Dictator Game
% sent)
(Trust Game
% sent)
(Trust Game
% returned)
(Risk Game
% invested)
(Competition Game
University or above
3-year college
Born in Beijing
Mother with 3-year college
Mother with uni or above
... Another finding is that Mishkin (2021) finds that the presence of a son diminishes the transmission of self-employment from father to daughter, as fathers dedicate more energy towards their son's self-employment. This reflects evidence that parental influence affects attitudes predictive of entrepreneurship, including the proclivity for autonomy, competitiveness, risk-taking and resourcefulness (e.g., Cameron et al., 2013). ...
... Hence, the exogenous imposition of the OCP policy provides a setting for contrasting outcomes pre and post the inception of the OCP. Economists and sociologists have researched the unintended implications of this policysome have described children of the OCP as over-indulged by doting parents or 'little emperors' (Cameron et al., 2013;Falbo and Poston Jr, 1993). ...
... As a result of the OCP, Chinese children become less willing to take risks and cooperate outside the household. Instead, they were more committed to staying close with their parents and meeting parental expectations, and so they have been described by Chinese and Western scholars as 'little emperors' (Cameron et al., 2013). ...
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Theory and evidence on human capital suggest that those with more resources have more opportunities to advance their careers. However, entrepreneurship in developing countries may depend more on individuals' resourcefulness than resources. In this article, we investigate the proposition that those who are endowed with more resources from their parents are less resourceful and, therefore, less likely to become entrepreneurs. Our study is situated within the context of China's one-child policy so that we can address concerns that the relationship between the number of siblings one has and the propensity for entrepreneurship is endogenous to parental preferences and fertility conditions. Consistent with this proposition, we find that those with more siblings are more likely to become entrepreneurs. Also, more parental resources and influence weaken such a relationship. While the one-child policy was set up as a means of population control, an unexpected consequence was a diminished propensity for entrepreneurship.
... This is especially an issue in China due to the One Child Policy. Previous studies on sibling effects in China utilized different approaches to address the selection problem, such as using twin birth (Li et al., 2008) or the exogenous imposition of the One Child Policy (Cameron et al., 2013) as instrumental variables to sibship size, or using longitudinal data with individual fixed effects models to assess changes when firstborn children transition from having no siblings to having a younger sibling (Chen, 2020). These studies, however, focused on either parental monetary investment or child long-term educational outcomes. ...
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Despite the vast literature on the sibling effects on child educational outcomes, less is known about how sibling gender structure relates to intrahousehold non-monetary resource dilution, mobilization, and transfer in non-western contexts. Utilizing nationally representative survey data from Chinese adolescents, this study investigated how sibship size and gender composition are associated with the household distribution of non-monetary resources such as parental monitoring, parent-child activities, parental educational aspiration, and child housework labor. China provides an especially important context to expand our understanding of the gendered sibling effects due to its traditionally patriarchal norms and persistent son preference, state-controlled fertility policies and low fertility rate, and escalating private education investment. Findings reveal a significantly gendered pattern of intrahousehold non-monetary resource dilution: children with more brothers experienced decreased parental monitoring and increased housework time, while children with more sisters were not disadvantaged in the same way; moreover, children with more younger brothers experienced decreased parental educational aspiration, while the numbers of other siblings did not show such effects. Furthermore, boys were less impacted by sibling competition for parental non-monetary resources than girls. These findings point to more subtle forms of gender inequality embedded in intrahousehold resource allocation that may not be as evident as inequality in monetary resources. Results also have important implications in the post-One-Child-Policy era and beyond the Chinese context.
... The traditional blood culture of Confucianism makes the adolescent the centre of the family and there are high expectations from a child [28] .Since the onset of the illness,parents attempt to rethink the expectation of their children and were fear of losing the child,just wish the child to live and healthy.Similarly,it was also consistent with previous research [29] . ...
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Objective This study aimed to capture and explore the experience of parents of children receiving immunotherapy for neuroblastoma in China. Design and method A phenomenological qualitative study design was used, and a purposive sampling technique to recruit parents of children with neuroblastoma from August to September 2023 at Hainan Women and Children’s Medical Center Boao worldlight hospital.Semi-structured interviews were conducted to document the experience of participants.Colaizzi's seven-step data analysis method was used to analyse the data to reveal the themes of the phenomenon. Results Fourteen parents participated in the study.A total of six themes were extracted on parents' experience of caring for a child with neuroblastoma during the immunotherapy:worry and fear; feeling support;expection and hope;just wishing the child to live and healthy;expection for new drugs and financial stress. Conclusion These findings make an important contribution to healthcare professionals’ understanding the experience of parents of children with neuroblastoma receiving immunotherapy.Worry and fear and Financial stress issues are likely to be heavier in this population. Oncology specialist nurses should to pay attention to the experience of parents, promote health education according to the needs of parents, improve social support, and then improve the quality of care for children with NB in China.
... Education level has a significant correlation with social preference, with higher-education levels tending to increase social preference [35]. Policies and media can also shape social preferences, as exemplified by the improved social preferences resulting from school integration policies [36] or the decreased social preferences in China due to the one-child policy [37,38]. The media's influence can be seen in the increased social preference for their ethnicity in Rwandan residents who have been exposed to nationalist propaganda [39,40], and increased trust has been observed in women in rural India due to enlightened media education [41]. ...
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The effect of social preferences, such as altruism and trust, on economic development is widely recognized. However, the reciprocal impact, i.e., how individuals experience the economic environment and how this shapes their social preferences, has remained largely under-explored. This study sheds light on this reciprocal effect, revealing an intriguing macroeconomic impact on individuals’ social preferences. By harnessing the Global Preference Survey data and a non-linear regression model, our findings highlight an interesting trend: there is a discernible decrease in individuals’ social preference as they experience enhanced economic conditions, and this effect is more pronounced for males. This crucial revelation underscores the importance for researchers and policymakers to take into account the prospective attenuation of social preferences in the pursuit of economic well-being.
Despite social scientists’ long-standing interest in the influences of siblings, previous research has not settled the debates on how relevant sibship size is to child development and whether growing up with more siblings could be beneficial. Using 30 years of longitudinal data and fixed-effects models, this study offers the most comprehensive evidence on how sibship size is tied to cognitive and sociobehavioral development. We also advance the literature by systematically comparing the consequences of gaining a sibling for children with varying ordinal positions. Contrary to prior studies using selective data from limited observation spans, we find that children experience net decreases in cognitive test scores as their family size grows. At the same time, our analysis shows that sibling additions are only important to first- and second-born children’s—not later-born children’s—cognitive development. Even for the first- and second-born, the marginal effect of adding a sibling lessens with each addition. Our results thus demonstrate the time-dependent nature of family resource-dilution processes. For sociobehavioral development, the evidence indicates that having an older sibling is beneficial, but gaining a younger sibling increases behavioral problems for some (e.g., first-born children). Because more children from large families have older siblings, children from larger families exhibit less problematic behavior, on average. By uncovering the complex relationship between siblings and noncognitive development, this study also generally contributes to the sociology of family and inequality.
Purpose This study aims to investigate the influence of CEO’s only-child status on corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. It seeks to extend the understanding of upper echelon theory by examining unexplored CEO characteristics and their impact on CSR decisions. Design/methodology/approach The paper uses manually collected CEO family information and Chinese Stock and Market Accounting Research data as a basis to examine the influence of CEOs’ early-life experiences on their engagement in CSR activities. The study applies attachment security theory from developmental psychology and uses upper echelon theory, particularly focusing on CEOs’ only-child status. A comparative analysis of philanthropic donations between CEOs who are only children and those who have siblings is conducted. The study also examines the moderating effects of corporate slack resources and CEO shareholdings. Findings Preliminary findings suggest that CEOs who are only children are more likely to engage in CSR compared to their counterparts with siblings. However, the difference in donation amounts between the two groups tends to attenuate with decreased slack resources and increased CEO shareholdings. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this research represents the first attempt to investigate being the only child in one’s family and the CSR-related decision of CEOs, which extends the upper echelon theory by introducing the family science theory into the management domain.
China’s fertility policy and population aging have produced many “4-2-2”–structured sandwich families, placing the sandwich generation under dual caregiving stress. Through reflective lifeworld research and multilevel interviews with 14 “4-2-2” families, we confirmed that the essence of “dual stress” was the competing responsibilities of caring for older adults and children. This essence can be further illustrated by the vulnerability of the cared-for, lack of emotional resources, socio-educational anxiety, and family livelihood pressure. In addition, the dual stress can jeopardize the well-being of the sandwich generation as family caregivers. However, this dilemma can be alleviated by intergenerational support-balancing, alternative digital-technology, and complementary social-care strategies. Understanding the lifeworld of sandwich families presents practical approaches and policy implications for caregiving-support systems.
This article establishes that a low-dimensional vector of cognitive and noncognitive skills explains a variety of labor market and behavioral outcomes. Our analysis addresses the problems of measurement error, imperfect proxies, and reverse causality that plague conventional studies. Noncognitive skills strongly influence schooling decisions and also affect wages, given schooling decisions. Schooling, employment, work experience, and choice of occupation are affected by latent noncognitive and cognitive skills. We show that the same low-dimensional vector of abilities that explains schooling choices, wages, employment, work experience, and choice of occupation explains a wide variety of risky behaviors.
Socialization theories in the past have stressed the role, at least in early childhood, of the mother. Only recently has there been much work on the role of fathers (Lamb, 1981), and research on siblings during the in fancy/early-childhood period is almost nonexistent (Cicirelli, 1975; Dunn & Kendrick, 1979). Although a growing number of studies bear witness to the recognition that other social objects play an important role in the early development of children, there are relatively few theoretical perspectives that can be used to anchor any empirical findings. Bronfenbrenner (1977) and Lewis (Lewis, 1982; Lewis & Feiring, 1978, 1979; Lewis, Feiring, & Weinraub, 1981; Lewis & Weinraub, 1976; Weinraub, Brooks, & Lewis, 1977) have begun to lay out a more theoretical perspective. In each of these views, the child’s place in the social network, rather than specific dyadic relationships, becomes the primary focus. Lewis (1982), in describing the social network of young children, has suggested that the role of any dyadic relationship cannot be fully appreciated without a broader perspective of placing that dyad into the larger framework of the child’slife. In particular, for example, when discussing the role of the father, it becomes obvious that part of the father’s role is his indirect influence, that is, those effects of the father’s behavior, values, and goals that are experienced by the child through the father’s behavior to others, who, in turn, act on the child (Lewis & Feiring, 1981).
Being an only child is popularly regarded as a handicap. During the 1970s, analyses appeared showing an intellectual advantage for only children relative to those from most other family-size/birth-order statuses. As for whether only children are spoiled and maladjusted, research by Claudy, Farrell, and Dayton finds strikingly positive personality and adjustment values for single children, as well as clear intellectual superiority. The author's own analysis, using adults of all sibsizes in the General Social Survey, indicates that only children are educationally and occupationally achieving, count themselves happy and satisfied with important aspects of life, are not politically and socially alienated, do not have disruptive family lives, and are unlikely to require public assistance. Only children also prefer to have, and do have, smaller size families than do respondents from any other sibsize. The performance of only children belies the prejudice.
A quantitative review of the literature on the personality characteristics of only children was conducted to provide a baseline, archival resource on 16 different personality domains and to advance theory in the area of family configuration effects on personality development. This review combined the results of 141 studies and found that only children scored significantly better than other groups in achievement motivation and personal adjustment. The achievement motivation finding was especially reliable, persisting across several comparison groups. Overall, however, the review indicated that only children were comparable in most respects to their siblinged counterparts. The findings are discussed in terms of parent-child relations and socioeconomic factors.
The Chinese government has launched two major fertility control policies over the past two decades. The wan-xi-shao--later-longer-fewer--policy of the 1970s and the one-child family policy introduced in 1979. This article examines the demographic impact of these policies by analyzing annual series of mean ages at first marriage, period parity progression ratios, and mean birth intervals for city, town, and rural residents for China as a whole, and for four provinces. The magnitude, direction, and timing of the changes give strong evidence of the impact of the policies. Although the program aimed at achieving the one-child family has received greater attention by most observers, the later-longer-fewer policy had the greater impact on fertility decline.