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The Regulation Of Migration In A Transition Economy: China'S Hukou System

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  • SHUMING BAO
  • ÖRN B. BODVARSSON
  • JACK W. HOU
  • YAOHUI ZHAO

Abstract

Unlike most countries, China regulates internal migration. Public benefits, access to good quality housing, schools, health care, and attractive employment opportunities are available only to those who have local registration (Hukou). Coincident with the deepening of economic reforms, Hukou has gradually been relaxed since the 1980s, helping to explain an extraordinary surge of migration within China. In this study of interprovincial Chinese migration, we address two questions. First, what is a sensible way of incorporating Hukou into theoretical and empirical models of internal migration? Second, to what extent has Hukou influenced the scale and structure of migration? We incorporate two alternative measures of Hukou into a modified gravity model – the unregistered migrant' s: (i) perceived probability of securing Hukou; and (ii) perceived probability of securing employment opportunities available only to those with Hukou. In contrast to previous studies, our model includes a much wider variety of control especially important for the Chinese case. Analyzing the relationship between Hukou and migration using census data for 1985-90, 1995-2000 and 2000-05, we find that migration is very sensitive to Hukou, with the greatest sensitivity occurring during the middle period.
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Suggested Citation

  • Shuming Bao & Örn B. Bodvarsson & Jack W. Hou & Yaohui Zhao, 2011. "The Regulation Of Migration In A Transition Economy: China'S Hukou System," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(4), pages 564-579, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:29:y:2011:i:4:p:564-579
    DOI: j.1465-7287.2010.00224.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lu, Yi & Xie, Huihua & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2016. "Telecommunication externality on migration: Evidence from Chinese villages," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 77-90.
    2. Xu, Guo, 2011. "Long-run consequences of natural disasters: Evidence from Tangshan," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 82, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    3. Anping Chen & Nicolaas Groenewold, 2017. "An increase in the retirement age in China: the regional economic effects," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(7), pages 702-721, February.
    4. Pi, Jiancai & Zhang, Pengqing, 2016. "Hukou system reforms and skilled-unskilled wage inequality in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 90-103.
    5. Bodvarsson, Örn B. & Hou, Jack W. & Shen, Kailing, 2014. "Aging and Migration in a Transition Economy: The Case of China," IZA Discussion Papers 8351, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Peter Kuhn & Kailing Shen, 2015. "Do employers prefer migrant workers? Evidence from a Chinese job board," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-31, December.
    7. Ying Liang & Yingying Yi & Qiufen Sun, 2014. "The Impact of Migration on Fertility under China’s Underlying Restrictions: A Comparative Study Between Permanent and Temporary Migrants," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 307-326, March.
    8. Christopher Candelaria & Mary Daly & Galina Hale, 2015. "Persistence of Regional Wage Differences in China," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 365-387, August.
    9. Iris Claus & Les Oxley & Chen Wang & Guanghua Wan & Dan Yang, 2014. "Income Inequality In The People'S Republic Of China: Trends, Determinants, And Proposed Remedies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 686-708, September.
    10. Partridge, Mark D. & Yang, Benjian & Chen, Anping, 2017. "Do Border Effects Alter Regional Development: Evidence from China," MPRA Paper 82080, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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