This paper analyzes a central part of China's one-child policy: when do eligible couples sign the one-child certificate and what are important socioeconomic determinants of this decision? The authors use proportional hazard models applied to micro-data from the 1985 Chinese Fertility Survey to study this question. Results for urban residents in Hebei and Shaanxi indicate that a couple's socioeconomic characteristics significantly affect the timing of signing the certificate. In particular, education of the husband and wife, household wealth, and the age at marriage increase the probability of signing the certificate at an earlier time, while living space decreases the probability. Living in extended family structure or a male first child (to test for son preference) apparently have little effect.
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