The Economist in a recent leader deploring China’s “one child’ policy made the point that when fertility rates decline—whether as a resultof coercion, as in China, or voluntary choice, as in Japan–they stay down. In fact, they seem to get stuck in a downward cycle. The lesson—probably too late for China—is that a below-replacement level “one child” policy sets a country on a path to demographic decline.Looking at Chinese or Japanese society it is not hard to understand why this is the case. It has to do with societal competition and investment in children. Simply, with fewer children—and particularly one child—parents, intent on ensuring competitive success, invest as much asthey can in the child. Investment takes many forms, not just formal education, but buying a house in a neighborhood with the best schools, paying for informal and extra-curricular tutoring, classes, cram-schools, camps, foreign travel, etc.
Read the rest of the story: Will Rising Investment Intensity in Japan’s Students Pay Off?.