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Subjective well-being in China: direct and indirect effects of rural-to-urban migrant status

Céline Bonnefond and Fatma Mabrouk

Review of Social Economy, 2019, vol. 77, issue 4, 442-468

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to provide a recent investigation on the determinants of subjective well-being among Chinese adults, with particular emphasis on internal migrants who hold a rural hukou and have settled in cities. Based on a sample of 7846 adults stemming from the 2011 wave of CHNS survey, we estimate different happiness functions using ordered probit regressions. We first confirm the influence of traditional demographic and socioeconomic characteristics (i.e. age, marital status, gender, illness/injury, income, and education). Second, our results emphasize the importance of taking into account regional differences, but also the positive impact of leisure time and social connections. Finally, our results highlight that being a rural-to-urban migrant is significantly associated with a decrease in the probability of reporting good or very good life satisfaction. We show that this relationship seems to be shaped by direct and indirect effects, and we identify the mediating role of regional patterns and social relations.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/00346764.2019.1602278

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