Deliberate fertility control in late imperial China: spacing and stopping in the Qing Imperial Lineage

Cameron D. Campbell, University of California, Los Angeles
James Lee, University of Michigan

We re-examine the role of fertility control in late imperial China through a re-analysis of population registration data for the Qing (1644-1911) imperial lineage. Our previous results and conclusions have sparked a vigorous and continuing debate over whether and how Chinese couples in the past controlled their fertility. For this analysis, we test a wider variety of hypotheses about patterns that deliberate spacing or stopping would produce and application of more appropriate techniques for event-history analysis. We apply discrete-time event history techniques to examine effects on birth intervals of sex composition and survivorship of previous births, the overall level of infant and child mortality, the socioeconomic characteristics of couples, and other factors. To examine effects of sex composition and survivorship of previous births, we make use of fixed effect models that account for unobserved characteristics of the mother. We will also examine the characteristics of early stoppers.

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Presented in Session 161: Fertility control in history