Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China

Lena Edlund, Hongbin Li, Junjian Yi, Junsen Zhang

Code and Data Abstract

Since the introduction of the one-child policy in China in 1979, many more boys than girls have been born, foreshadowing a sizable bride shortage. What do young men unable to find wives do? This paper focuses on criminality, an asocial activity that has seen a marked rise since the mid-1990s. Exploiting province-year level variation, we find an elasticity of crime with respect to the sex ratio of 16- to 25-year-olds of 3.4, suggesting that male sex ratios can account for one-seventh of the rise in crime. We hypothesize that adverse marriage market conditions drive this association.


Lena Edlund, Hongbin Li, Junjian Yi, Junsen Zhang, et al. "Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China." Review of Economics and Statistics.     doi:10.1162/REST_a_00356. Retrieved 06/24/2019 from

Compendium Type: Published Papers
Primary Research Field: Computer and Information Sciences
Secondary Research Field: Mathematics
Content License: Public Domain Mark
Code License: MIT License

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created 01/18/2014

modified 01/18/2014

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