Economic Justification for Chinese Coercion?

Source: EconLog
by Pierre Lemieux

“The Chinese government relaxed to three children per family its former limit of one child after 1979 and two after 2015 (Lyian Oi, ‘China Delivers Three-Child Policy, but It’s Too Late for Many,’ Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2021). Standard economic analysis provides an easy justification for limiting children: a child can be viewed as a negative externality ‘for society’ because a more numerous population imposes costs on taxpayers and, through reduced family resources for education and other factors, on economic growth. This argument has been used, sometimes via environmentalism (example: a World Bank study of 1990). This, however, mainly demonstrates the plasticity and omnipresence of externalities and the uselessness or danger of the concept itself.” (06/02/21)