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Subjective Well-Being of China’s Off-Farm Migrants

Author

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  • Ingrid Nielsen

    ()

  • Russell Smyth

    ()

  • Qingguo Zhai

    ()

Abstract

Existing research applying the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) in China is restricted to urban and rural samples. There are no studies for Chinese off-farm migrants. The specific aims of this study are (a) ascertain whether Chinese off-farm are satisfied with their lives; (b) investigate the equivalence of the PWI in terms of its psychometric properties; and (c) examine whether the responses to the PWI from participants falls within the narrow range predicted by the 'Theory of Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis???. The PWI demonstrated good psychometric performance in terms of its reliability, validity and sensibility and was consistent with previous studies for Western and non-Western samples. The data revealed a moderate level of subjective well-being (PWI score = 62.6). While Chinese off-farm migrants lead hard lives, the PWI was within the normative range predicted for Chinese societies by the 'Theory of Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis'. A likely explanation for this finding rests with the circular nature of migration in China. When China's offfarm migrants find it too difficult to cope in the cities, most have the fallback position that they can return to their homes in the countryside. This option provides an external buffer to minimize the inherent challenges of life which would otherwise impinge on the life satisfaction of China's off-farm migrants.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth & Qingguo Zhai, 2010. "Subjective Well-Being of China’s Off-Farm Migrants," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 315-333, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:11:y:2010:i:3:p:315-333
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-009-9142-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlsson, Fredrik & Lampi, Elina & Li, Wanxin & Martinsson, Peter, 2014. "Subjective well-being among preadolescents and their parents – Evidence of intergenerational transmission of well-being from urban China," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 11-18.
    2. Jiangsheng Chen & Hong Yang, 2016. "Geographical Mobility, Income, Life Satisfaction and Family Size Preferences: An Empirical Study on Rural Households in Shaanxi and Henan Provinces in China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 277-290, October.
    3. Zheng Fang & Chris Sakellariou, 2016. "Social Insurance, Income and Subjective Well-Being of Rural Migrants in China—An Application of Unconditional Quantile Regression," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1635-1657, August.
    4. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1387-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Ingrid Nielsen & Sen Sendjaya, 2014. "Wellbeing Among Indonesian Labour Migrants to Malaysia: Implications of the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 919-938, July.
    6. Stillman, Steven & Gibson, John & McKenzie, David & Rohorua, Halahingano, 2015. "Miserable Migrants? Natural Experiment Evidence on International Migration and Objective and Subjective Well-Being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 79-93.
    7. Wang-Sheng Lee & Zhong Zhao, 2017. "Height, Weight and Well-Being for Rural, Urban and Migrant Workers in China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 117-136, May.
    8. Zhiming Cheng, 2014. "The Effects of Employee Involvement and Participation on Subjective Wellbeing: Evidence from Urban China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 457-483, September.
    9. Vinod Mishra & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth, 2010. "Relative Income, Temporary Life Shocks and Subjective Wellbeing in the Long-run," Monash Economics Working Papers 51-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    10. Carlsson, Fredrik & Lampi, Elina & Li, Wanxin & Martinsson, Peter, 2011. "Subjective well-being among preadolescents - Evidence from urban China," Working Papers in Economics 500, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    11. Ingrid Nielsen & Olga Paritski & Russell Smyth, 2010. "Subjective Well-Being of Beijing Taxi Drivers," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(6), pages 721-733, December.
    12. Vinod Mishra & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth, 2014. "How Does Relative Income and Variations in Short-Run Wellbeing Affect Wellbeing in the Long Run? Empirical Evidence From China’s Korean Minority," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(1), pages 67-91, January.
    13. Gareth Davey & Ricardo Rato, 2012. "Subjective Wellbeing in China: A Review," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 333-346, April.
    14. Feng Hu, 2013. "Homeownership and Subjective Wellbeing in Urban China: Does Owning a House Make You Happier?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 951-971, February.
    15. Sun Sun & Jiaying Chen & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Kind & Kristina Burström, 2016. "Subjective Well-Being and Its Association with Subjective Health Status, Age, Sex, Region, and Socio-economic Characteristics in a Chinese Population Study," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 833-873, April.
    16. Jin Huang & Shiyou Wu & Suo Deng, 2016. "Relative Income, Relative Assets, and Happiness in Urban China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 971-985, April.
    17. Rongwei Chu & Henry Hail, 2014. "Winding Road Toward the Chinese Dream: The U-shaped Relationship Between Income and Life Satisfaction Among Chinese Migrant Workers," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 235-246, August.
    18. Chau-kiu Cheung & Raymond Ngan, 2012. "Filtered Life Satisfaction and Its Socioeconomic Determinants in Hong Kong," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 109(2), pages 223-242, November.
    19. Ying Liang & Demi Zhu, 2015. "Subjective Well-Being of Chinese Landless Peasants in Relatively Developed Regions: Measurement Using PANAS and SWLS," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 817-835, September.
    20. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1377-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Zhiming Cheng & Russell Smyth & Gong Sun, 2013. "Participation and Expenditure of Rural-Urban Migrants in the Illegal Lottery in China," Monash Economics Working Papers 24-13, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    22. Ricardo Rato & Gareth Davey, 2012. "Quality of Life in Macau, China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 105(1), pages 93-108, January.
    23. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-015-1214-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Alexander Newman & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth & Angus Hooke, 2015. "Examining the Relationship Between Workplace Support and Life Satisfaction: The Mediating Role of Job Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 120(3), pages 769-781, February.
    25. Vinod Mishra & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth & Alex Newman, 2014. "The Job Satisfaction-Life Satisfaction Relationship Revisited: Using the Lewbel Estimation Technique to Estimate Causal Effects Using Cross-Sectional Data," Monash Economics Working Papers 26-14, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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