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Intergenerational mobility and institutional change in 20th century China

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  • Chen, Yuyu
  • Naidu, Suresh
  • Yu, Tinghua
  • Yuchtman, Noam

Abstract

We examine the persistence of socioeconomic status across generations, measured by educational attainment, among urban Chinese born between 1930 and 1985. The persistence of status follows a pronounced, robust U-shaped pattern, falling among cohorts educated following the Communist revolution of 1949, and rising among cohorts educated following the reforms of the late 1970s. The pattern is not driven by the Cultural Revolution or by changing associations between education and income. The U-shape also appears in complementary datasets covering rural China. We discuss the policies behind a non-monotonic relationship between educational expansion and social mobility across the institutional regimes we study.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Yuyu & Naidu, Suresh & Yu, Tinghua & Yuchtman, Noam, 2015. "Intergenerational mobility and institutional change in 20th century China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 44-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:58:y:2015:i:c:p:44-73
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2015.07.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Guo, Yumei & Song, Yang & Chen, Qianmiao, 2019. "Impacts of education policies on intergenerational education mobility in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 124-142.
    2. Xiao, Yun & Li, Li & Zhao, Liqiu, 2017. "Education on the cheap: The long-run effects of a free compulsory education reform in rural china," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 544-562.
    3. FAN, Yi, 2016. "Intergenerational income persistence and transmission mechanism: Evidence from urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 299-314.
    4. Roy van der Weide & Ambar Narayan, 2019. "China and the United States: Different economic models but similarly low levels of socioeconomic mobility," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-121, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social mobility; China; Economic transition; Educational policy;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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