Based on the prevalent son preference in China, this paper proposes a new measure of relative bargaining power within the household. Using data from China Health and Nutrition Survey, we show that a woman with a first-born son has a 3.9 percentage points' greater role in household decision-making than a woman with a first-born daughter Having a first-horn son improves the mother's nutrition intakes and reduces her likelihood of being underweight. While thinking of these impacts as being channeled through intrahousehold bargaining power we cannot fully rule out other possible direct effects of a first-born son on the outcomes.
China operated an urbanization policy by which counties could be given city status between 1983 and 1997. The policy had substantial impacts on the new administrative entities, including more discretionary power and fiscal independence. Such "county-to-city upgrading" provided the central government with an instrument to reward localities. Using a large dataset covering all counties during 1993-1997. I show that upgrading is not an automatic procedure that endorses the high urbanization levels in existing counties. Although official guidelines for upgrading counties to cities were published, these requirements were largely ignored in practice. Instead, economic growth rate was the key factor in determining which counties obtained city status. This paper interprets the creation of county-level cities through upgrading as part of the incentive structure of Chinese local officials. The importance of both fiscal and political incentives facing the local government in promoting economic growth is highlighted.