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Is There a City Size Bias? Destination Choice of Rural off-Farm Workers, Evidences from Three Areas in Rural China

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  • Hu, Chaoran
  • Chen, Kevin Z.
  • Reardon, Thomas

Abstract

Nonfarm activities (NFA) are a crucial component of the livelihood strategies of China’s rural households. Empirical evidence shows that 51% of rural households’ income in Asia is from nonfarm earnings (Haggblade, Hazell and Reardon 2007). However, the increasingly uneven spatial distribution of these nonfarm economies has raised the concerns in many countries. It is found that rural towns or intermediate cities play the more important roles in rural poverty reduction than big cities (Berdegué et al. 2015), yet, we still see more migrants concentrating in urban big cities in China. To explore this paradoxical situation will provide some evidences for other developing countries experiencing rapid yet unbalanced urbanization. In this paper, we used a unique data set to find out what are the factors driving rural migrant’s destination choice and whether they are always attracted by large cities. Apart from this main research question, several other contributions are made to the literature. First, this paper performs pioneer research by conducting the estimation of the determinants of Chinese rural off-farm worker’s locational choice, including and comparing both local and migratory NFA, both of which are important among rural households in China, yet the former is generally ignored in the literature. Second, the Nested-Logit Model is used to relax the irrelevant alternatives assumption, proved to be inappropriate if directly adopted traditional Logit or Multinomial Logit model in our case. The results suggested the importance of transportation as well as education to attract rural migrants. We did not see rural migrants preferring larger cities while facing with decreasing travel distances. For rural nonfarm economy, it is also important to improve agricultural performance in rural areas to generate multiplier effects as well as providing education/trainings to rural off-farm workers to be involved in higher-skilled NFA.

Suggested Citation

  • Hu, Chaoran & Chen, Kevin Z. & Reardon, Thomas, 2015. "Is There a City Size Bias? Destination Choice of Rural off-Farm Workers, Evidences from Three Areas in Rural China," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205535, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea15:205535
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Rural Nonfarm; Migration; Destination choice; Nested Logit Model; China; Agricultural and Food Policy; Community/Rural/Urban Development; International Development; Labor and Human Capital;

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