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Labor Migration and Returns to Rural Education in China


  • Yaohui Zhao


This paper provides an answer to the following question: Why do empirical studies find low returns to schooling in rural China, and yet the schooling rates are high? I find that schooling played a significant role in raising the accessibility of urban formal employment to rural people in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the face of the government's restrictive policy on labor migration from rural to urban areas. The large urban-rural income difference provided a strong incentive for senior high school education. The theory also explains the drop in the senior high school attendance in the mid 1980s. Copyright 1997, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Yaohui Zhao, 1997. "Labor Migration and Returns to Rural Education in China," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1278-1287.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:79:y:1997:i:4:p:1278-1287

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pauw, Karl & Thurlow, James, 2011. "Agricultural growth, poverty, and nutrition in Tanzania," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 795-804.
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    3. Arndt, Channing & Benfica, Rui & Maximiano, Nelson & Nucifora, Antonio M.D. & Thurlow, James, 2008. "Higher fuel and food prices: Economic impacts and responses for Mozambique," IFPRI discussion papers 836, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Tarp, Finn & Arndt, Channing & Jensen, Henning Tarp & Robinson, Sherman & Heltberg, Rasmus, 2002. "Facing the development challenge in Mozambique: an economywide perspective," Research reports 126, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    6. Tarp, Finn, et al, 2002. "The Robustness of Poverty Profiles Reconsidered," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 77-108, October.
    7. Channing Arndt & Rui Benfica & Nelson Maximiano & Antonio M. D. Nucifora & James T. Thurlow, 2008. "Higher fuel and food prices: impacts and responses for Mozambique," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 497-511, November.
    8. Martin Ravallion, 2003. "Measuring Aggregate Welfare in Developing Countries: How Well Do National Accounts and Surveys Agree?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 645-652, August.
    9. Arndt, Channing & Robinson, Sherman & Tarp, Finn, 2002. "Parameter estimation for a computable general equilibrium model: a maximum entropy approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 375-398, May.
    10. Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Maxim Pinkovskiy, 2010. "African Poverty is Falling...Much Faster than You Think!," NBER Working Papers 15775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Dyer, George A. & Taylor, J. Edward, 2011. "The Corn Price Surge: Impacts on Rural Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1878-1887.
    12. World Bank, 2010. "World Development Indicators 2010," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4373.
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