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Urbanization and social policy in China


  • Bingqin Li

    () (Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom)


Urbanization in China has in part been subject to centrally planned control and in part has resulted from the pressures of industrialization and economic development. One of the major, if neglected, influences has been the social policies controlling internal migration and influencing urban-rural inequalities in income and social welfare. Urbanization poses continuing and growing challenges for social policies. This paper explores three approaches of possible future urbanization: planned and controlled urbanization, free-market development and balanced social development. The paper emphasizes the importance of a balanced social development approach, as it would maintain social stability, cater to the needs of large and small cities and urban and rural areas, and help to narrow the rural-urban gap in terms of social provision.

Suggested Citation

  • Bingqin Li, 2006. "Urbanization and social policy in China," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 13(1), pages 1-26, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:unt:jnapdj:v:13:y:2006:i:1:p:1-26

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zhang, Kevin Honglin & Song, Shunfeng, 2003. "Rural-urban migration and urbanization in China: Evidence from time-series and cross-section analyses," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 386-400.
    2. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-773, October.
    3. Li, Bingqin, 2004. "Urban social exclusion in transitional China," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6309, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Mengistu Woube, 1999. "Socialism and urbanization in Ethiopia, 1975-90: a tale of two "Kebeles"," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 26-44, March.
    5. Barry McCormick & Jackline Wahba, 2005. "Why Do the Young and Educated in LDCs Concentrate in Large Cities? Evidence from Migration Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(285), pages 39-67, February.
    6. Bingqin Li, 2004. "Urban Social Exclusion in Transitional China," CASE Papers 082, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    7. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-142, March.
    8. C. Cindy Fan, 1997. "Uneven development and beyond: regional development theory in post-Mao China," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 620-639, December.
    9. Fan, Shenggen & Zhang, Linxiu & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2000. "Growth and poverty in rural China: the role of public investments," EPTD discussion papers 66, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 2000. "Is transient poverty different? Evidence for rural China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 82-99.
    11. Reeitsu Kojima, 1996. "Breakdown Of China'S Policy Of Restricting Population Movement," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 34(4), pages 370-401, December.
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    1. repec:bla:asiaps:v:5:y:2018:i:1:p:4-17 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    China; Urbanization; Social Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R5 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


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