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Relative Concerns of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China

Alpaslan Akay (), Olivier Bargain () and Klaus Zimmermann ()

No 2011-12, LISER Working Paper Series from LISER

Abstract: How the income of "relevant others" a¤ects well-being has received renewed interest in the recent literature using subjective data. Migrants constitutes a particularly interesting group to study this question: as they changed environment, they are likely to be concerned by several potential reference groups including the people "left behind", other migrants and "natives". We focus here on the huge population of rural-to-urban migrants in China. We exploit a novel dataset that comprises samples of migrants and urban people living in the same cities, as well as rural households mostly surveyed in the provinces where migrants are coming from. After establishing these links, we ?nd that the well-being of migrants is largely affected by relative concerns: results point to negative relative concerns toward other migrants and workers of home regions ?this status e¤ect is particularly strong for migrants who wish to settle permanently in cities. We ?nd in contrast a positive relative income e¤ect vis-à-vis the urban reference group, interpreted as a signal e¤ect: larger urban incomes indicate higher income prospects for the migrants. A richer pattern is obtained when sorting migrants according to the duration of stay, expectations to return to home countries and characteristics related to family circumstances, work conditions and community ties.

Keywords: China; relative concerns; well-being (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C90 D63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 40 pages
Date: 2011-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cwa, nep-dev and nep-tra
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Related works:
Journal Article: Relative concerns of rural-to-urban migrants in China (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Relative Concerns of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Relative Concerns of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Relative Concerns of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China (2011) Downloads
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