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Research hat-trick for Professor Xin Meng

Research hat-trick for Professor Xin Meng

6 September 2017

ANU economist Professor Xin Meng has had a very successful past 12 months, with three papers published in leading economics journals.

The most recent paper, titled "China’s Sex Ratio and Crime: Behavioural change or financial necessity?" co-authored by Lisa Cameron and Dandan Zhang has been accepted into the prestigious Economic Journal.

The paper looks at the impact of China’s high sex ratio on crime rates, finding that China’s high ratio of males to females is linked to greater risk-taking and impatience among males. 

This research uses survey and experimental data from prison inmates and comparable non-inmates to examine the drivers of rising criminality in China.

“We found that growing up in a high sex ratio environment makes boys more risk-loving and slightly more neurotic, and this in turn makes them more likely to commit crimes in adulthood,” said Meng.

However, the research found that the primary avenue through which the sex ratio increases crime is the direct pressure on men to appear financially attractive in order to find a partner in the marriage market.

In April this year Professor Meng’s paper titled “Children of Migrants: The cumulative impact of parental migration on their children’s education and health outcomes”, co-authored by Chikako Yamauchi, was accepted by Demography, a leading journal on issues related to population and demographic trends.

This research discusses the impacts of parental migration from rural areas in China to cities, with many rural children being left behind in their rural village and growing up without parental care. In this paper, Meng and Yamauchi examine how the exposure to cumulative parental migration affects children’s health and education outcomes, finding a significant adverse impact, particularly in boys.

In December 2016 Professor Meng also had a paper accepted into the Scandinavian Journal of Economics, another top-ranked economics journal.

The paper, titled “Rates of return to four-year university education: An application of regression discontinuity design” was co-authored by Elliot Fan, Zhichao Wei and Cuochang Zhao, and examines the effect of four-year university education on earnings, using a regression discontinuity design.

Director of the ANU Research School of Economics Professor Rabee Tourky congratulated Meng on her achievements.

“The ANU is lucky to be home to Professor Xin Meng, who is widely regarded as the leading scholar working on the Labour Economics of China,” Professor Tourky said. 

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