Essays on demographic legacies of twentieth-century population planning

Ethan Sharygin, University of Pennsylvania


The populations of Russia, Central Asia, and China have unique demographic features that pose special theoretical and applied problems. The essays in this dissertation explore different associated phenomena directly and indirectly related to central planning, including famine, unusual patterns in longevity, and sex ratio imbalance.^ I describe health and height patterns among survivors of a famine in the Russia during the 1930s. I present evidence for the existence of competing stunting and selection effects. Cohorts born 0–4 years before the famine were shorter than control groups born 1–4 years after the famine or more than four years before the famine. Cohorts born less than one year after the famine are also shorter, suggesting possible in-utero effects.^ Russians in Kazakhstan experience higher adult mortality than Central Asians despite higher socioeconomic status. I present mortality patterns by age and cause for Russians and Kazakhs in Kazakhstan. Adult mortality among Kazakhs is lower than among Russians, and higher than among Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan. The results suggest that ethnic mortality differentials in Central Asia may be related to the degree of russification.^ Low fertility, high sex ratios, and later marriage in China have combined to create a large surplus of males relative to females. I explore the possible consequences for marriage markets, accounting for uncertain aspects of China's demographic dynamics. I show that marriage and fertility rates in China are responding to economic and social development in ways that will affect the timing and level of marriage. Increasing age at marriage may have tempo effects on fertility rates that should be anticipated.^

Subject Area

Sociology, Demography

Recommended Citation

Sharygin, Ethan, "Essays on demographic legacies of twentieth-century population planning" (2013). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3565228.