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City economic development, housing availability, and migrants' settlement intentions: Evidence from China

Mengkai Chen, Yidong Wu, Guiwen Liu and Xianzhu Wang

Growth and Change, 2020, vol. 51, issue 3, 1239-1258

Abstract: The slow growth of the permanently settled migrants in host cities poses new challenges for the sustainability of China's future urbanization. Given the growing importance of homeownership, this paper clarifies migrants' settlement intentions into three mutually exclusive patterns, including de facto permanent settlement intention through homeownership, long‐term temporary settlement intention and short‐term temporary settlement intention. Based on matched micro‐ and macro‐level data, this paper examines the influence of city economic development and housing prices on these three patterns. The results suggest that economic development exhibits an attractive effect on migrants' settlement intentions for both earning money and for making a life while housing price weakens rural migrants' de facto permanent settlement intention. We also highlight the effect of the Housing Provident Fund (HPF), the most important housing financial policy in China, on settlement intention, and the results suggest that the HPF serves as an option to help migrants achieve permanent settlement through housing availability. The findings can explain the mixed results of previous research and provide policy references for sustainable urbanization in China.

Date: 2020
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