The impact of population change in China

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Tang, Zhengguang
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University College Cork
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China initiated its population control policy (One-Child Policy) in 1978 to ease the pressure of population growth, and implemented supporting policies in education and public health to improve population quality in each ‘Five-Year Plan’ since 2001. Considering the possible different impacts of population on economic growth, this thesis systematically examines the impacts of population changes in both quantity and quality on economic growth in China based on population quantity and quality policies. Chapter One briefly introduces the background, rationale, data sources and thesis structure. Chapter Two provides an overview of the theoretical and empirical literatures on the impacts of population quantity changes on economic growth for provincial-level data (29 provinces) in China, from 1985 to 2013. Chapter Three focuses on population quality, which highlights that different definitions coincide with different research techniques, and also outlines key education and public health policies pursued in China over the period 1995 to 2015. Chapter Four identifies three cities selected for detailed analysis of population quality with some preliminary descriptive data analysis. The methods of index construction to produce indexes of population quality (based on education and health) for the three selected cities are also introduced and applied. In Chapter Five, using most up-to-date econometric techniques, the effect of population quality on economic growth is estimated, building on the themes of education and health presented in earlier chapters. Tentative policy recommendations are put forward in Chapter Six drawing on the empirical estimation results from preceding chapters. Some limitations of this thesis and some suggestions for future research potential are also provided. Although increases in the non-agricultural population and working-age population can drive economic growth, total population growth remains a substantial barrier to economic growth in China. Improving population quality (measured as the education and health levels) is found to contribute to China’s economic growth in the long-term.
China , Population change , Economic growth
Tang, Z. 2020. The impact of population change in China. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.