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Working Conditions and Job Satisfaction of China's New Generation of Migrant Workers: Evidence from an Inland City

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  • Wang, Huashu

    (Guizhou University)

  • Pan, Lei

    ()
    (Wageningen University)

  • Heerink, Nico

    ()
    (Wageningen University)

Abstract

China is experiencing notable changes in rural-urban migration. Young, more educated migrants with different attitudes towards living and working form an increasing share of the migrant labour force. At the same time, the destinations of migrants are changing as a result of government policies and the global financial crisis. More migrants than before find jobs in medium and small size cities, often located in western and central China. Understanding the characteristics and attitudes of the changing migrant labour force is becoming a major challenge in sustainably managing migration flows and urbanization. Little hard evidence is available on the working conditions and job attitudes of migrant workers, particularly for inland China. The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the characteristics, working conditions and job attitudes of the new generation of migrants, defined as those born in the 1980s and 1990s, as compared to the traditional generation in a typical medium-size city in western China. Data collected through a household survey conducted among 1,048 migrants in Guiyang City, capital of Guizhou Province, are used for this purpose. We find significant differences in occupational characteristics and working conditions between the two generations. Contrary to popular beliefs, we find that the level of job satisfaction is higher among the new generation of migrants. Using an ordered logit model to examine factors contributing to job satisfaction, we find that age and gender do not have a significant impact for young migrants, while working conditions play a major role. Among these, it is not so much the income level that matters for young migrants, but other working conditions. Using a Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition, we derive that it is mainly the difference in working conditions and other endowments that explains the higher job satisfaction of young migrants, not the differences between generations in the valuations of these endowments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7405.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7405

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Keywords: migrant workers; new generation; working conditions; job satisfaction; China;

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  1. Keith A. Bender & Susan M. Donohue & John S. Heywood, 2005. "Job satisfaction and gender segregation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 479-496, July.
  2. Lu, Zheng & Deng, Xiang, 2011. "China's Western Development Strategy: Policies, Effects and Prospects," MPRA Paper 35201, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Richard B. Freeman & Douglas Kruse & Joseph Blasi, 2007. "The Same Yet Different: Worker Reports on Labour Practices and Outcomes in a Single Firm Across Countries," NBER Working Papers 13233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2001. "The Two-Tier Labor Market in Urban China: Occupational Segregation and Wage Differentials between Urban Residents and Rural Migrants in Shanghai," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 485-504, September.
  5. Peilin Li & Wei Li, 2007. "Economic Status and Social Attitudes of Migrant Workers in China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 15(4), pages 1-16.
  6. Ben Jann, 2008. "A Stata implementation of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition," ETH Zurich Sociology Working Papers, ETH Zurich, Chair of Sociology 5, ETH Zurich, Chair of Sociology, revised 14 May 2008.
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