How did China’s Cultural Revolution affect adolescent outcomes for the rusticated?

Yes, I thought this year it was time to search the job market candidates at National University of Singapore.  I ran across some fascinating work by Huihua Xie:

Does a difficult environment in early life shape people’s core beliefs and values? We examine the long-term impact of the send-down movement during China’s Cultural Revolution, when urban educated youths were forced out of cities to work and live in undesirable rural areas. The mandatory policy applied to urban youth who graduated from junior or senior high school between 1966 and 1976. We identify the send-down effect by regression discontinuity, comparing individuals who graduated just before and just after the implementation of the policy. Using individual-level survey data, we find that rusticated individuals value family and relationships more highly, are less likely to believe in luck as the most important factor for success, and support social equality more strongly.

The paper, with Jie Gong and Yi Lu, is here, under resubmission at the JPE.  She also has an interesting paper on how being rusticated during the Cultural Revolution led to later problems with chronic illness and mental health.  Yet another paper considers whether and how the education of your sibling can make you better off or worse off, using regression discontinuity methods.


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