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Modeling migration barriers in a two-sector framework: A welfare analysis of the hukou reform in China

Gary Fields () and Yang Song ()

Economic Modelling, 2020, vol. 84, issue C, 293-301

Abstract: The present paper constructs a two-sector labor market model for China featuring endogenous internal labor mobility and heterogeneous costs of migration induced by the Chinese household registration system (hukou). The main novelty of our model is to divide migrants into those with more family responsibilities and those with fewer to explain the empirical fact that almost all young people with rural hukou have migrated to cities, while people who stay in the rural area are older and have more family responsibilities. We conduct two policy experiments using the model: one experiment concerned with reducing costs of living for younger migrants and the other for older migrants. The main results are that the first policy would unambiguously increase social welfare, while the reduced-cost policy for older migrants would reduce poverty and inequality although some urban natives may experience a wage reduction.

Keywords: Segmented labor markets; Migration barriers; Costs of migration; Welfare analysis; Hukou (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I3 J2 O1 R1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2019.04.019

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