“China’s Lost Generation: Changes in beliefs and their intergenerational transmission”

“China’s Lost Generation: Changes in beliefs and their intergenerational transmission”

Gerard Roland and David Y. Yang

NBER Working Paper No. 23441

China’s Cultural Revolution suspended regular higher education for an entire decade (1966-1976), creating the so-called Lost or Delayed Generation. Growing up during that period the Delayed Generation was deprived of higher education opportunities at an age when youths would typically consider attending college. This shock allows Roland and Yang to examine if differences in the opportunity cost of attending university persistently shaped citizens’ beliefs on whether efforts pay off in determining success. Moreover, they investigate to what extent the changed beliefs may affect citizens’ behavior, particularly their decisions to invest in their children’s education and to transmit such beliefs to the next generation.