DP11614 A Culture of Kinship: Chinese Genealogies as a Source for Research in Demographic Economics

Author(s): Carol Hua Shiue
Publication Date: November 2016
Keyword(s): Chinese historical demography, Genealogical data, intergenerational linked data, lineage population
JEL(s): J10, N00
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11614

This paper discusses the use of Chinese genealogies for research on economic demography. I focus both on what is known about the genealogy as a data source, and what are the open questions for future research. Chinese genealogies contain individual level records at the individual level. With the publication of new catalogues and efforts to collect genealogies, the number of genealogies is even larger than previously thought, with most dating to the late Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. These records contain information about the Chinese population history, over a period for which there is no alternative source of information. Yet the source still remains largely unexploited. Although the work of transcribing the data is significant, and selection biases need to be carefully considered, preliminary analysis of the data for a sample of married men for Tongcheng County in Anhui Province suggests these data are a rich source of information for demographic and economics research.