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Success or failure: selectivity and reasons of return migration in Sichuan and Anhui, China

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  • Wenfei Winnie Wang
  • C Cindy Fan

Abstract

In this paper we examine urban – rural return migration in China. We argue that the traditional success – failure dichotomy approach used for analyzing return migration is inadequate and that it must be expanded to address better the institutional context of the transitional economy. Using an empirical study of Sichuan and Anhui provinces, we analyze the selectivity of return migrants and their reasons for return, focusing not only on how returnees compare with continuing migrants, but also on their decisionmaking. The analysis indicates that returnees are negatively selected among migrants and suggests that failure migrants are more prevalent than are typically portrayed in the literature. The results also highlight family demand as an important reason for return. These findings suggest that migrants’ institutional and social inferiority in the city undermines their likelihood to succeed in the destination and reinforces their desire to return when family needs arise. Our analysis raises questions about the optimism of existing studies about the contribution of return migrants in China’s countryside.

Suggested Citation

  • Wenfei Winnie Wang & C Cindy Fan, 2006. "Success or failure: selectivity and reasons of return migration in Sichuan and Anhui, China," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(5), pages 939-958, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:38:y:2006:i:5:p:939-958
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    Cited by:

    1. Démurger, Sylvie & Xu, Hui, 2011. "Return Migrants: The Rise of New Entrepreneurs in Rural China," World Development, Elsevier, pages 1847-1861.
    2. Ha, Wei & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2016. "Brain drain, brain gain, and economic growth in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 322-337.
    3. Erika Arenas & Noreen Goldman & Anne Pebley & Graciela Teruel, 2015. "Return Migration to Mexico: Does Health Matter?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(6), pages 1853-1868, December.
    4. Franses, Ph.H.B.F., 2015. "Return migration of high skilled workers," Econometric Institute Research Papers 78065, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
    5. Emily Smith-Greenaway & Kevin Thomas, 2014. "Exploring Child Mortality Risks Associated with Diverse Patterns of Maternal Migration in Haiti," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 33(6), pages 873-895, December.
    6. Chengfeng Yang & Huiran Han & Jinping Song, 2014. "Spatial Distribution of Migration and Economic Development: A Case Study of Sichuan Province, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(10), pages 1-20, September.
    7. Belal Fallah, 2017. "The Economic Response of Rural Areas to Local Supply Shock: Evidence From Palestine," Working Papers 1108, Economic Research Forum, revised 06 2017.
    8. Hirvonen, Kalle & Lilleør, Helene Bie, 2015. "Going Back Home: Internal Return Migration in Rural Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 186-202.
    9. Junge, Vera & Revilla Diez, Javier & Schätzl, Ludwig, 2015. "Determinants and Consequences of Internal Return Migration in Thailand and Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 94-106.

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