This paper examines the influence of family human capital on offspring's economic status in post reform rural China by concentrating on the father-son relationship. We focus on two indicators of family background: family class origin (jiating chengfen) and occupational experience. The results of a family wealth function for 2002 suggest that, after controlling for other individual and family characteristics, both measures of family background have a significant influence on family wealth. First, parental experience of a nonagricultural family business before collectivization has a positive and statistically significant effect on current family wealth. Second, the offspring of landlord/rich peasant and middle peasant families are more likely to have higher family wealth than poor and lower-middle peasant families. We also find cohort and regional differences in the influence of family background. Our findings suggest that the strength and robustness of the Chinese rural family as a cultural institution preserves family human capital across radical institutional changes.
Family human capital family background intergenerational correlation distribution of wealth