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The Kindness of Strangers: Adopted in China

The University of Pennsylvania holds a public talk on adoption in China.

November 28, 2011 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Lena Edlund, the associate professor of economics from Columbia University, will give a public talk on "The Kindness of Strangers: Adopted in China".

Sex ratios at birth are abnormally male in China, leaving millions of Chinese families with sons who will find it difficult to marry. Son preference and sex selection is of long standing in Chinese society, and so is the problem of how to procure a daughter-in-law in society that shuns daughters. A traditional method to solve this problem was for families to adopt a girl at a young age and raise her to marry a son. By abandoning daughters and taking in girls, parents secured their son's future marriage and avoided spending resources on a daughter who would be of little use to them. While parents today can no longer force their children to marry (each other), an adopted daughter hedges parents of sons. She can be traded for a daughter-in-law, or her bride price can finance the marriage of her brother. During this talk, we draw attention to the dramatic rise in domestic adoptions of girls in China following the introduction of the one-child-policy.




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