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Research by four Australian scholars claims China's family planning policy has had behavioral impacts on the generation of single children, saying such children tend to be less trusting, less trustworthy, and more risk-averse and pessimistic. The study also claims that such personal traits have implications for China's labor market and social development.
But a closer analysis of the study suggests the researchers might have jumped to a hasty conclusion. First, the sample size for the study, "Little Emperors: Behavioral Impacts of China's One-Child Policy", is too small to present the whole picture. The study covered 421 well-educated Beijing residents born between 1975 and 1983, with half of them being born before the implementation of the family planning policy in 1979 and the other half after.
The sample size is not big enough to account for the whole of Beijing, let alone China. Also, the rate of higher education among single children born in Beijing between 1980 and 1983 is not quite high; it was even lower on the national level.