Volume 43 - Article 5 | Pages 129–142

Introduction to the special collection on life course decisions of families in China

By Bing Xu, William A.V. Clark, Eric Fong, Li Gan

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Date received:12 May 2020
Date published:24 Jul 2020
Word count:3021
Keywords:China, life course
Weblink:You will find all publications in this Special Collection on Life-Course Decisions of Families in China here.


Background: The economic reforms of the last thirty years have produced a dramatic improvement in the standard of living in China. However, the concurrent social transformation has also created both stresses and challenges for Chinese families. While researchers have paid considerable attention to the headline demographic statistics accompanying these economic and social transformations, the nuanced ways in which Chinese society has changed and continues to change since the reforms are less understood.

Contribution: This special collection uses the life course framework, which has emerged as an important organizing concept within demographic studies, to examine constancy and change in Chinese society since the reforms of the late 1990s. By framing life events as the result of decisions that are influenced by and sometimes are direct responses to China’s modernization, and investigating how these decisions collectively affect and reshape Chinese society, the papers in this collection provide a rich way of interpreting and understanding demographic changes in China.

Author's Affiliation

Bing Xu - Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, China [Email]
William A.V. Clark - University of California, Los Angeles, United States of America [Email]
Eric Fong - University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong [Email]
Li Gan - Texas A&M University, United States of America [Email]

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» Life course and cohort effects on Chinese parents' investments in their children
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» Loss aversion and duration of residence
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» Family migration and mobility sequences in the United States: Spatial mobility in the context of the life course
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» A comparative analysis of leaving home in the United States, the Netherlands and West Germany
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