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Opportunity or new poverty trap: Rural-urban education disparity and internal migration in China

Huafeng Zhang

China Economic Review, 2017, vol. 44, issue C, 112-124

Abstract: Despite its rapid economic growth, China has never managed to reduce its rural-urban divide with its reforms and marketization of the economy. The huge gap between urban and rural education is embedded in the disparity in educational investment, children's educational attainment, school quality and the returns to education. Migrant children move with their parents to urban cities to pursue a better education. However, the Chinese household registration system (hukou system) limits migrant children's rights and access to basic education in the cities. Will migrant children benefit from a better-quality education in the cities, or will they continue to be constrained by their hukou registration? Will the large-scale internal rural-urban migration provide the opportunity to reduce rural-urban education inequality in China, or will it merely create a new education-poverty trap? Based on publicly available large-scale survey data (RUMiC), this paper applies logistic regression and survival analysis to illustrate the new education-poverty trap imposed on migrant children by the institutional constraints and hierarchies in children's education, created by the Chinese household registration system in Chinese cities.

Keywords: Poverty trap; Rural-urban education disparity; Survival analysis; Migrant children; Hukou registration in China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 I25 I28 I32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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