Title page for ETD etd-05192006-114512

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chen, Weijia
URN etd-05192006-114512
Title Essays on Rural-Urban Migration in China
Degree PhD
Department Economics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Yang, Dennis T. Committee Chair
Ashley, Richard A. Committee Member
Kats, Amoz Committee Member
Salehi-Isfahani, Djavad Committee Member
Yau, Jeffrey Committee Member
  • Education
  • Temporary Migration
  • Rural-Urban Migration
  • Migrant Networks
  • China
Date of Defense 2006-05-10
Availability unrestricted
Since the late 1980’s, China has experienced the world’s largest peacetime out-migration of its rural labor force to urban areas. The temporary nature of the labor migration complicates the control on this mobile population, and its multi-faceted influence on the whole economy makes the migration policy controversial. Based on cross-sectional Chinese rural household survey data, this study analyzes the effects of migration on rural areas and explores the determinants of the participation and duration of the temporary migration.

The first chapter investigates how parental migration affects the decision of enrolling children in high school through migration’s effects on household income and the opportunity cost of schooling in rural China. The opportunity cost of schooling is approximated by the marginal productivity of children imputed from family production estimation, which controls for potential endogeneity in the time allocation decisions of family members. The empirical results show that temporary migration of parents raises their children’s probability of high school enrollment by 3.2%, resulting primarily from a positive income effect. These findings suggest that reductions in barriers to migration raise rural household earnings, and foster the investment in children’s education.

The second chapter studies the determinants of participation and duration of temporary rural-urban migration in China highlighting the role of education and migrant networks. The Probit and Logit models are fitted to the dichotomous migration participation estimation. To correct for the sample selection bias, Heckman’s two-step procedure is used to estimate the length of migratory work. Empirical results confirm the existence of a migrant network effect on both migration participation and migration length. Schooling increases migration probability non-linearly and its effect on migration length is insignificant once migration is controlled. Furthermore, the positive effect of migrant networks on migration participation is especially prominent among individuals with junior and senior high school education.

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