Low fertility rate and potential population decline may restrict China’s economic and social development，the crux of which is“want to have children but dare not to have children”or“do not want to have children”and the latter boils down to low fertility intentions. Starting from the macro structural factor of inequality of opportunity，this paper discusses the rea?
sons of residents’lack of fertility intention. This paper argues that China’s low fertility intention is embedded in the cultural background of“ Holding High Hopes for One’s Children ”and the structural characteristics of unequal opportunities；The achievements of children bring honor and satisfaction to the residents，but under the conditions of unequal opportunities，children with the same level of effort may not receive corresponding achievements or rewards. At this point，even if the policy reduces the cost of childbearing and parenting，the desire to have children may still be suppressed，manifested as“reluctance to have children”. The theoretical analysis of this paper also shows that，from the perspective of the inhibition effect of opportunity inequality on residents’fertility intention，the wage income has a moderating effect，while the cost of socially necessary parenting and emphasis of family on children’s achievement aggravate the effect. After the theoretical analysis，the authors use CGSS micro data to conduct empirical analysis and test. The results show that：Firstly，the inequality of opportunity significantly inhibited the fertility intention of Chinese residents. After changing the model setting，remeasuring the inequality of opportunity and using the instrumental variable method，the conclusion was still robust. Secondly，From the perspective of action path，the inequality of opportunity reduces the expected achievement of children，and thus reduces the fertility intention of residents. Thirdly，the higher the cost of socially necessary parenting，the lower the level of intended fertility；However，even if the cost of socially necessary parenting is reduced，the inhibition effect of opportunity inequality on fertility intention still exists，and even when the cost of socially necessary parenting is low，the marginal effect is greater. Finally，this paper analyzes the moderating effect of other variables and finds that the increase of wage income can alleviate the inhibitory effect of opportunity inequality on fertility intention，while the family’s emphasis on children’s achievements can aggravate the inhibitory effect. The findings of this paper are helpful to understand the characteristics of low fertility intention in China，and this research expand the research on opportunity inequality and its impact.
谢小平,付 康,邹文理. 望子成龙、机会不平等与生育意愿[J]. 南方经济, 2023, 42(5): 48-63.
Xie Xiaoping,Fu Kang,Zou Wenli. Holding High Hopes for One’s Children，Equality of Opportunity and Fertility Intention. South China Journal of Economics, 2023, 42(5): 48-63.