Temporary migration and regional development in China
A new approach to migration in developing countries is used in this paper, which integrates into the migration process the experiences of moving to cities, working in urban areas, and returning to the countryside. As a result, rural labor migration is directly linked to rural development through remittances, as well as through physical and human capital brought back by return migrants. Migration information is mainly drawn from China's 1995 1% National Population Survey. Findings from other recent migration surveys are also incorporated. It has been found that patterns of temporary migration are mainly shaped by the magnetic force of the growth-pole region. Job opportunities created there in labor-intensive industries have attracted large numbers of migrants, first from the surrounding rural areas and then from the peripheral regions, enhancing migration propensity in both areas. As a result, migrations from the periphery to the growth-pole region become the largest interregional flow. With respect to the effects of temporary migration on the development of the rural origin, it is found that the enhancing effect of migration on net income is large. In some relatively poor provinces, migrants' net income can even outweigh the provincial rural net income. More importantly, a return trend has recently emerged. About 4 million migrants returned to rural areas in the early 1990s, bringing back both physical and human capital. The volume is increasing, with returnees playing a crucial role in the development of rural areas in the peripheral regions.
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