The impact of parental migration on children’s school performance in rural China
A substantial amount of China’s rapid economic growth in has been attributed to its large proportion of rural-urban migrants, but more than 80% of these migrants’ children are still left in rural areas mainly due to China’s household registration system. Identification of the impact of parental migration on children’s school performance may encounter the problem of endogeneity. Using unique survey data collected from Qinghai Province and the Ningxia Autonomous Region in Northwestern China where more than 7,100 Grade 4 & 5 students from 74 rural elementary schools participated and by the instrumental-variable estimation, our results indicate that parents’ decisions to migrate are exogenous to their children’s schooling performance, and one more migratory parent can marginally reduce their child’s math score by 1.73 percent in percentile rank, which implies that the current economic growth in China partially jeopardizes the future of the next rural generation. In addition, we find a causal relationship between the poor performance of ethnic minorities and both geographical and social disadvantages.
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