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