From a One Child Policy to a 50 Million Child Policy: Working with China’s Family Planning Commission to improve Child Outcomes

Principal Investigator

Scott Rozelle
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies


Susanna Loeb
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Anne Fernald
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Research Locations China
Award Date June 2016
Award Type PhD I-Award


Children in rural China are not reaching their full developmental potential. Data collected by our team show that only 13 percent of parents read and tell stories to their children. Field observations indicate that many rural Chinese babies live a life of silence and near isolation. The Chinese government is eager to take action. In this proposal, we are applying for funding to support the development and evaluation of a parenting curriculum, as well as to support the creation of a series of text messages that can be used to communicate core parenting lessons directly to caregivers. Our ultimate goal is to improve the cognition of more than 50 million children as they pass through the critical first 1000 days of life. In doing so, we will also be helping cadres in China’s largest bureaucracy to transition from their historical role as enforcers of a draconian birth control policy, to friendly aunties and uncles who help parents learn how to play with their children.