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Does parental migration increase upward intergenerational mobility? Evidence from rural China

Qundi Feng and Qinying He

Economic Modelling, 2022, vol. 115, issue C

Abstract: Previous studies have confirmed the short-term adverse effect of parental migration on children's human capital formation, but there has been limited focus on long-term improvement in socioeconomic status. Using the data from the 1991–2015 China Health and Nutrition Survey, this study investigates whether and how parental migration affects individual's upward intergenerational mobility. Results indicate that exposure to parental migration in childhood causes a lower probability of upward intergenerational mobility but a higher likelihood of downward intergenerational mobility. The reduction in educational attainment is a possible channel. Specifically, parental migrations impede individual's post-compulsory education attainment thereby inducing lower occupation status. Individuals with higher education have a higher rate of upward intergenerational mobility as reflected in the interaction effect of education. Our findings highlight that left-behind children are more likely to be trapped in poverty, suggesting the need for preventive intervention to enhance equal opportunities in children's development.

Keywords: Parental rural-to-urban migration; Upward intergenerational mobility; Education; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 J13 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2022.105955

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