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

Listed author(s):
  • Zhang, Huafeng
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    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.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043-951X(09)00150-3
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 51-64

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:21:y:2010:i:1:p:51-64
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

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    1. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1978. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Bingqin Li, 2004. "Urban social exclusion in transitional China," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6309, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1999. "Employment Constraints and Sub-optimality in Chinese Enterprises," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 284-299, April.
    6. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877.
    7. Roberts, Kenneth D., 2001. "The determinants of job choice by rural labor migrants in Shanghai," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 15-39.
    8. 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.
    9. Bingqin Li, 2004. "Urban Social Exclusion in Transitional China," CASE Papers 082, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
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