Title: Picking up the Losses: The Impact of the Cultural Revolution on Human Capital Re-investment in Urban China
Reference Number: 1189
Publication Date: January 2009
JEL Classifcation: I21, J24, P36

Jun Han
The University of Hong Kong

Wing Suen
The University of Hong Kong

Junsen Zhang
Chinese University of Hong Kong

Using the Cultural Revolution of China as a quasi-experiment, this paper analyzes the long-term impact of interrupted education in the midst of economic transition with booming opportunities that highly reward educational qualifications. We focus on the remedial human capital investment decisions taken by individuals whose education has been interrupted by this shock. We find substantial increases in schooling levels among the adult cohorts as they invest in continuous education to make up for their interrupted schooling and take advantage of new opportunities afforded by the economic transition. Estimates of the educational loss caused by the Cultural Revolution that ignore subsequent re-investments would not accurately measure the true losses inflicted by this event.

Key words: Cultural Revolution, economic transition, interrupted education, human capital re-investment

Last modified: 03/27/2009