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How Long Do Return Migrants Stay in Their Home Counties? Trends and Causes

Yunli Bai (), Weidong Wang () and Linxiu Zhang ()
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Yunli Bai: Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Weidong Wang: Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Linxiu Zhang: Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 11, 1-21

Abstract: Return migration is an important form of rural labor mobility in China, and it has been given growing concern recently by governments in the background of rural revitalization. However, research covering the duration of stay in migrants’ home counties, a basic question of labor mobility and a precondition for policy making, is far from enough. The aim of this paper is to analyze the period of return for these migrants based on employment history data by tracking their mobility among rural laborers from 1998 to 2015. The data was collected from a randomized, nationally representative sample of 100 rural villages in five provinces of China. We find that only 22.3 percent of migrants returned from 1998 to 2015, and most return migrants still remained in their home counties as of 2015. Using the OLS, Tobit, and Heckman sample selection models, the results show that return migrants who are old, more educated, unmarried, and with children are more likely to stay longer in their home counties. From a development perspective, return migrants are expected to play an important role in the process of rural revitalization.

Keywords: return migration; trends; labor mobility; rural China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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