Gansu Survey of Children and Families Dissertations

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Shi, Xinzheng. 2009. Human Capital in Developing Countries (Doctoral dissertation). The University of Michigan.


My dissertation investigates human capital issues, including education and health, in China. In the first chapter, I test for evidence of an intra-household flypaper effect by evaluating the impact of an educational fee reduction reform in rural China on different categories of household expenditures. Using data from Gansu Province in China, I find that educational fee reductions were matched by increased voluntary educational spending on the same children receiving fee reductions, providing strong evidence of an intra-household flypaper effect. The second chapter investigates the long-term effects of China’s 1959-1961 famine. Using China’s 2000 population census data, I find that women affected by the famine in the first year of life were living in smaller houses, achieved lower level of education, and provided less labor in their adulthood. But there are no long term effects on men affected by the famine in their early years of life. In the third chapter, I investigate the impact of school quality on students’ educational attainment using a regression discontinuity research design that compares students just above and below entrance examination score thresholds that strictly determine admission to the best high schools in China’s rural counties. Using data from Gansu Province in China, I find that attending the best high school in one’s county of residence decreases the probability to take college entrance examination; increases college entrance scores and the probability of entering college.


social sciences, China, developing countries, human capital



Date Posted: 07 June 2021