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Permanent and temporary rural–urban migration in China: Evidence from field surveys

Lei Meng and Min Qiang (Kent) Zhao

China Economic Review, 2018, vol. 51, issue C, 228-239

Abstract: We use a unique, self-collected dataset to study the trade-offs between rural land holding and urban hukou facing Chinese rural households. Exploring the criteria used in the initial land allocation in the early 1980s, we argue that our finding of a negative relationship between land holding and permanent migration in terms of hukou change has a causal interpretation. We also contribute to the literature by empirically examining the impact of land holding on temporary and permanent migration decisions simultaneously. We find that land holding reduces the likelihood of permanent migration but has a smaller effect on temporary migration decisions. Using a hypothetical survey question, we find that providing full access to urban social benefits to even “landless” households would result in only a moderate increase in the number of rural individuals intending to settle permanently in urban areas. Our results suggest that reforms of rural land rights and urban social benefits alone may not be sufficient to attract a large proportion of rural individuals to permanently settle in urban areas.

Keywords: Rural–urban migration; Land holding; Social benefits; Hukou (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J61 R23 Q15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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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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