Working Papers:

Survival of the Confucians: Marital Fertility and Social Status in China, 1400-1900

  • I use the genealogical records of 35,691 men to test one of the fundamental assumptions of the Malthusian model. Did higher living standards result in increased net reproduction? For China, 1400-1900, I find a positive status-fertility relationship. The gentry scholars, the Confucians, produced more than twice as many sons as the commoners. The social gradients were However, this status effect on fertility disappears once I control for the number of wives. Reproductive success in Imperial China was driven by the upper class’s advantage in having more wives. The results also shed light on understanding the persistence of Confucianism in Chinese society.

Descendants over Half a Millennium: Marital Fertility in Five Chinese Lineages, 1400-1900

  • The paper studies the marital fertility of five Chinese lineages in Southeast China from 1400 to 1900. By exploiting new genealogical data and studying more than 20,000 individuals in the five lineages, a unique Chinese marital fertility pattern is demonstrated. On the one hand, contrary to conventional wisdom on Chinese fertility, the results show that the marital fertility rates in the period were much lower compared to those of Northwest Europe in similar periods. On the other hand, in line with the classic ideas, the paper finds no clear signs of parity-dependent controls within marriages. The results suggest that imperial China was still largely a “natural fertility” regime, only with some “controlled” characteristics.

Work in Progress:

The Beckerian and the Darwinian Trade-off of Children in Chinese Families: Transmission of Fertility across Generations in China, 1400-1900.