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Chinese rural migrants in urban enterprises: Three perspectives


  • John Knight
  • Lina Song
  • Jia Huaibin


A survey of rural migrants employed in enterprises in four Chinese cities is analysed to answer the following questions. Are the productive characteristics of migrants rewarded in the urban labour market? How do migrants compare with non-migrants in their productive characteristics, occupational attainment and pay? Do migrants have an incentive to remain with the enterprise and in the city, and what factors influence these attitudes? What determines the extent of migrant employment? Do enterprises have an incentive to employ more migrants, and how do they value migrants relative to non-migrants? How does policy influence migration: does government impede or encourage the flow of temporary migrants? Thus the process of migration is analysed from three perspectives: those of the rural migrants themselves, of their urban employers, and of the government. The survey results are combined with macroeconomic projections to consider the future of migration in China.

Suggested Citation

  • John Knight & Lina Song & Jia Huaibin, 1999. "Chinese rural migrants in urban enterprises: Three perspectives," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(3), pages 73-104.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:35:y:1999:i:3:p:73-104
    DOI: 10.1080/00220389908422574

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    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers


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