Love thy Parents and Care For thy Children: Filial Piety and Intergenerational Cooperation in Traditional China

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides an economic reason to explain why agricultural production in traditional China has been organized within the family for the past two millennia. By holding other factors constant, we show that the allocation of resources within a society that practises filial piety is superior to that of a society without filial piety. The institution of filial piety began by the Confucians and the government of the Han Dynasty (two millennia ago) helped to enforce an arrangement between father and son for the exchange of their ownership of resources. Filial piety and order in the family are the central pillars of Confucianism and Chinese culture because order in the family is crucial to realizing a better allocation of resources in society. This also explains why the traditional Chinese or Oriental societies have embraced Confucian values for more than two millennia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391 - 408
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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