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Measuring the Income-Distance Tradeoff for Rural-Urban Migrants in China

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Author Info

  • Zhang, Junfu

    ()
    (Clark University)

  • Zhao, Zhong

    ()
    (Renmin University of China)

Abstract

Rural-urban migrants in China appear to prefer nearby destination cities. To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, we build a simple model in which migrants from rural areas choose among potential destination cities to maximize utility. The distance between a migrant's home village and destination city is explicitly included in the utility function. Using recent survey data, we first estimate an individual's expected income in each potential destination city using a semi-parametric method, controlling for potential self-selection biases. We then estimate the indirect utility function for rural- urban migrants in China based on their migration destination choices. Our baseline estimates suggest that to induce a migrant to move 10 percent further away from home, the income of this migrant has to increase by 15 percent. This elasticity varies very little with migration distance; it is slightly higher for female than male migrants; it is not affected by the migrant's age, education, or marital status. We explore possible explanations of these results and discuss their policy implications.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7160.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7160

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Keywords: income-distance tradeoff; rural-urban migration; hukou system; China;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Long, Wenjin & Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina, 2013. "Job Contact Networks and Wages of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," IZA Discussion Papers 7577, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Xing, Chunbing & Zhang, Junfu, 2013. "The Preference for Larger Cities in China: Evidence from Rural-Urban Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 7562, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Akgüc, Mehtap & Giulietti, Corrado & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2013. "The RUMiC Longitudinal Survey: Fostering Research on Labor Markets in China," IZA Discussion Papers 7860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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