The Impact of migration on rural poverty and inequality: a case study in China
AbstractLarge numbers of agricultural labor moved from the countryside to cities after the economic reforms in China. Migration and remittances play an important role in transforming the structure of rural household income. This paper examines the impact of rural-to-urban migration on rural poverty and inequality in a mountainous area of Hubei province using the data of a 2002 household survey. Since migration income is a potential substitute of farm income, we present counterfactual scenarios of what rural income, poverty, and inequality would have been in the absence of migration. Our results show that, by providing alternatives to households with lower marginal labor productivity in agriculture, migration leads to an increase in rural income. In contrast to many studies that suggest the increasing share of non-farm income in total income widens inequality, this paper offers support for the hypothesis that migration tends to have egalitarian effects on rural income for three reasons: (i) migration is rational self-selection – farmers with higher expected return in agricultural activities and/or in local non-farm activities choose to remain in countryside while those with higher expected return in urban non-farm sectors migrate; (ii) households facing binding constraints of land shortage are more likely to migrate; (iii) poorer households benefit disproportionately from migration.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2014s-08.
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: 2020 rue University, 25e étage, Montréal, Quéc, H3A 2A5
Phone: (514) 985-4000
Fax: (514) 985-4039
Web page: http://www.cirano.qc.ca/
More information through EDIRC
Migration; poverty; inequality; China;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
- Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2014-04-18 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2014-04-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-MIG-2014-04-18 (Economics of Human Migration)
- NEP-TRA-2014-04-18 (Transition Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Taylor, J. Edward, 1992. "Remittances and inequality reconsidered: Direct, indirect, and intertemporal effects," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 187-208, April.
- David Mckenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2004.
"Network Effects and the Dynamics of Migration and Inequality: Theory and Evidence from Mexico,"
2004-3, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
- Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
- Islam, Nurul, 1997. "The nonfarm sector and rural development: review of issues and evidence," 2020 vision discussion papers 22, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- Yaohui Zhao, 1999. "Leaving the Countryside: Rural-to-Urban Migration Decisions in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 281-286, May.
- Zhang, Yin & Wan, Guanghua, 2006.
"The impact of growth and inequality on rural poverty in China,"
Journal of Comparative Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 694-712, December.
- Zhang, Yin & Wan, Guanghua, 2006. "The Impacts of Growth and Inequality on Rural Poverty in China," Working Paper Series RP2006/94, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
- Wan, Guanghua & Zhou, Zhangyue, 2004.
"Income Inequality in Rural China: Regression-based Decomposition Using Household Data,"
Working Paper Series
UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
- Guanghua Wan & Zhangyue Zhou, 2005. "Income Inequality in Rural China: Regression-based Decomposition Using Household Data," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 107-120, 02.
- Zhu, Ling & Jiang, Zhongyi, 1993. "From Brigade to Village Community: The Land Tenure System and Rural Development in China," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 441-61, December.
- Rodriguez, Edgard R, 1998. "International Migration and Income Distribution in the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 329-50, January.
- Shujie Yao, 1999. "Economic growth, income inequality and poverty in china under economic reforms," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(6), pages 104-130.
- Du, Yang & Park, Albert & Wang, Sangui, 2005. "Migration and rural poverty in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 688-709, December.
- Jean-Pierre Lachaud, 1999.
"Envois de fonds, inégalité et pauvreté au Burkina Faso,"
Revue Tiers Monde,
Programme National Persée, vol. 40(160), pages 793-827.
- Jean-Pierre Lachaud, 1999. "Envoi de fonds, inégalité et pauvreté au Burkina Faso," Documents de travail 40, Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV.
- Heckman, James J, 1979.
"Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error,"
Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
- Chotikapanich, Duangkamon & Prasada Rao, D.S. & Tang, KamKi, 2006.
"Estimating Income Inequality in China Using Grouped Data and the Generalized Beta Distribution,"
Working Paper Series
RP2006/134, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
- Duangkamon Chotikapanich & D. S. Prasada Rao & Kam Ki Tang, 2007. "Estimating Income Inequality In China Using Grouped Data And The Generalized Beta Distribution," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(1), pages 127-147, 03.
- McMillan, John & Whalley, John & Zhu, Lijing, 1989. "The Impact of China's Economic Reforms on Agricultural Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 781-807, August.
- Stark, Oded & Taylor, J. Edward & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1988. "Migration, remittances and inequality : A sensitivity analysis using the extended Gini index," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 309-322, May.
- Knight, J. & Song, L., 1990.
"The Spatial Contribution To Income Inequality In Rural China,"
Economics Series Working Papers
99106, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1993. "The Spatial Contribution to Income Inequality in Rural China," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 195-213, June.
- Pyatt, Graham & Chen, Chau-nan & Fei, John, 1980. "The Distribution of Income by Factor Components," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 451-73, November.
- Barham, Bradford & Boucher, Stephen, 1998. "Migration, remittances, and inequality: estimating the net effects of migration on income distribution," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 307-331, April.
- Wan, Guanghua, 2004. "Accounting for income inequality in rural China: a regression-based approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 348-363, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.