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The Hukou system's constraints on migrant workers' job mobility in Chinese cities

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  • Zhang, Huafeng

Abstract

Most studies on discrimination against migrants in Chinese cities focus on wage differentials. This paper endeavours to develop an alternative way of explaining the institutional discrimination against migrants by studying workers' job mobility rates in three cities: Beijing, WuXi and Zhuhai. Migrants are commonly perceived to have high occupational mobility; however, Cox proportional hazards regressions in this paper show a different picture. Institutional discrimination reduces the number of jobs available to the migrants, increases their job search costs and the cost of losing jobs. Even though migrants take jobs unacceptable to local residents, the effects of this institutional discrimination still constrain migrants in changing jobs. The regressions show that temporary migrants have longer job durations and shorter unemployment durations than local people or permanent migrants. Moreover, migrants start to change jobs more often only after they have stayed in the city for some time and have accumulated enough assets to be able to survive when unemployed.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Huafeng, 2010. "The Hukou system's constraints on migrant workers' job mobility in Chinese cities," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 51-64, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:21:y:2010:i:1:p:51-64
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, January.
    2. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1981. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Knight, John & Yueh, Linda, 2004. "Job mobility of residents and migrants in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 637-660, December.
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    5. John Knight & Lina Song & Jia Huaibin, 1999. "Chinese rural migrants in urban enterprises: Three perspectives," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(3), pages 73-104.
    6. Knight, John & Yueh, Linda, 2004. "Job mobility of residents and migrants in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 637-660, December.
    7. Lu, Zhigang & Song, Shunfeng, 2006. "Rural-urban migration and wage determination: The case of Tianjin, China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 337-345.
    8. Bingqin Li, 2004. "Urban Social Exclusion in Transitional China," CASE Papers 082, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    9. Li, Bingqin, 2004. "Urban social exclusion in transitional China," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6309, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sylvie Démurger & Hui Xu, 2011. "Left-Behind Children and Return Decisions of Rural Migrants in China," Post-Print halshs-00625636, HAL.
    2. Song, Yang, 2014. "What should economists know about the current Chinese hukou system?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 200-212.
    3. Qi, Di & Wu, Yichao, 2016. "The extent and risk factors of child poverty in urban China — What can be done for realising the Chinese government goal of eradicating poverty before 2020," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 74-82.
    4. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing & Xia, Fang & Huang, Jikun, 2014. "Moving Off the Farm: Land Institutions to Facilitate Structural Transformation and Agricultural Productivity Growth in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 505-520.
    5. Dror Kochan, 2015. "Placing the Urban Village: A Spatial Perspective on the Development Process of Urban Villages in Contemporary China," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 927-947, September.
    6. Hu, Feng & Xu, Zhaoyuan & Chen, Yuyu, 2011. "Circular migration, or permanent stay? Evidence from China's rural-urban migration," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 64-74, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Chen, Binkai & Lu, Ming & Zhong, Ninghua, 2015. "How Urban Segregation Distorts Chinese Migrants’ Consumption?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 133-146.
    9. repec:spr:chinre:v:9:y:2016:i:4:d:10.1007_s12187-015-9351-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Xiong, Ailun & Li, Hongyi & Westlund, Hans & Pu, Yongjian, 2017. "Social networks, job satisfaction and job searching behavior in the Chinese labor market," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-15.
    11. repec:voj:journl:v:63:y:2016:i:1:p:135-146 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Lu, Ming & Xia, Yiran, 2016. "Migration in the People’s Republic of China," ADBI Working Papers 593, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    13. Vahan Sargsyan, 2015. "Differential Treatment in the Chinese Labor Market. Is Hukou Type the Only Problem?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp548, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.

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