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What should economists know about the current Chinese hukou system?

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  • Song, Yang

Abstract

This article explains the current hukou system in China and provides the most recent evidence on the impact of the hukou system on the Chinese labor market and economy. By a comprehensive literature survey, this paper shows that the hukou system plays in two major roles in current China. First, workers with different hukou face different costs of living in cities and have different access to government-provided public services and welfare programs in the urban areas. Migrants with rural and non-local hukou working in the Chinese big cities have no or little access to welfare programs provided by local city governments. Second, there exists labor market discrimination against rural hukou holders in cities, especially in the urban high-wage sector such as state-owned enterprises. The current hukou system has a negative impact on rural-to-urban migration in China as well as on economic efficiency and equality by reducing the expected benefits associated with migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Song, Yang, 2014. "What should economists know about the current Chinese hukou system?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 200-212.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:29:y:2014:i:c:p:200-212
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2014.04.012
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    Cited by:

    1. Yang Song & Guangsu Zhou, 2017. "Inequality of opportunity and household education expenditures: Evidence from panel data in China," Working Papers 439, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    2. 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.
    3. He, Ming & Chen, Yang & van Marrewijk, Charles, 2017. "Urban Transformation and Technology Spillovers: Evidence from China's Electric Apparatus Sector," RIEI Working Papers 2017-01, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Research Institute for Economic Integration.
    4. Cheremukhin, Anton & Golosov, Mikhail & Guriev, Sergei & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2015. "The Economy of People’s Republic of China from 1953," CEPR Discussion Papers 10764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. repec:eee:ecosys:v:41:y:2017:i:2:p:165-178 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1258-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. 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.
    9. repec:spr:chinre:v:9:y:2016:i:4:d:10.1007_s12187-015-9351-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Ting Wang & Areendam Chanda, 2016. "Manufacturing Growth and Local Multipliers in China," Departmental Working Papers 2016-02, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    11. Heinrich, Timo & Shachat, Jason, 2018. "The development of risk aversion and prudence in Chinese children and adolescents," MPRA Paper 86456, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Fungáčová, Zuzana & Määttä, Ilari & Weill, Laurent, 2016. "What shapes social attitudes toward corruption in China? Micro-level evidence," BOFIT Discussion Papers 18/2016, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hukou; Chinese labor market; Discrimination; Migration; Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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