IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Economic Consequence of Labor Mobility in China's Regional Development


  • Ding Lu

    (University of the Fraser Valley, 33844 King Rd., Abbotsford, BC, Canada V2S 7M8.)


Factor mobility plays an important role in the convergence of regional income levels. This paper examines the role of labor mobility in China's regional economic development in the context of phases of demographic transition and the existence of institutional barriers. Our findings show that the two most important sources of interregional income disparity are per worker capital stock and technology level. The fact that the richest provincial economies are at the later phase of demographic transition provides a major reason for why those economies have accumulated higher per worker capital stock and achieved higher productivity levels. We also discover that regional per capita income levels have not displayed convergence since the mid 1990s. Two observations explain this phenomenon. One observation is that capital and labor movements have played only a limited role in equalizing their marginal returns across regions despite the fact that labor mobility has substantially strengthened this role since 2000. The other observation is that the impact of demographic changes on income growth has been distinctly uneven between the rich and poor regions. This phenomenon can be attributed to some particular features of China's interregional labor migration. (c) 2009 The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Ding Lu, 2009. "The Economic Consequence of Labor Mobility in China's Regional Development," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 8(2), pages 85-114, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:8:y:2009:i:2:p:85-114

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:8:y:2009:i:2:p:85-114. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kristin Waites). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.