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Labor mobility barriers and rural-urban migration in transitional China

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  • WANG, Sophie Xuefei
  • Yu Benjamin, FU

Abstract

Rural-urban migration is an inherent component of urbanization and economic development. This paper develops a model of labor migration, focusing on the role of selection effects in determining labor market outcomes. The model is then calibrated to quantify the effects of China's labor market reforms on labor market outcomes, outputs, and income. Results find that the removal of legal labor mobility constraints and lowering of migration costs benefit the overall economy in terms of GDP and total welfare, but rural-urban migration also causes a brain drain in rural areas, and decreases agricultural production while inflating the price of agricultural products. In terms of inequality, migration narrows the urban-rural labor income gap, but when considering capital income, migration actually increases urban-rural inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • WANG, Sophie Xuefei & Yu Benjamin, FU, 2019. "Labor mobility barriers and rural-urban migration in transitional China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 211-224.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:53:y:2019:i:c:p:211-224
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2018.09.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Baoxi & Cheng, Shixiong & Xiao, De, 2020. "The impacts of environmental pollution and brain drain on income inequality," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    2. Shaoyao Zhang & Wei Deng & Li Peng & Peng Zhou & Ying Liu, 2020. "Has Rural Migration Weakened Agricultural Cultivation? Evidence from the Mountains of Southwest China," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(3), pages 1-19, March.

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