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In Search of a Better Life: The Occupational Attainment of Rural and Urban Migrants in China

  • Ayako Kondo
  • Dongshu Ou

This paper investigates the occupational attainment and job mobility of permanent rural-to-urban migrants and compares them with migrants who were born with an urban hukou. Using data from the 2003 China General Social Survey, we examine how much of the gaps in occupational-prestige scores between rural- and urban-born migrants can be explained by differences in observable characteristics up to the time of migration. We find that, with controls for these characteristics, the difference in occupational attainment between rural and urban migrants becomes statistically insignificant or even positive for some subgroups. In contrast, our analysis of job mobility reveals that rural migrants are generally more mobile and also more likely to move to better jobs by changing work units, whereas urban migrants are more likely to be promoted within a work unit.

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File URL: http://www.iser.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/dp/2010/DP0793.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University in its series ISER Discussion Paper with number 0793.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0793
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  1. de Brauw, Alan & Giles, John T., 2006. "Migrant Opportunity and the Educational Attainment of Youth in Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 2326, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Démurger, Sylvie & Gurgand, Marc & Li, Shi & Yue, Ximing, 2009. "Migrants as second-class workers in urban China? A decomposition analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 610-628, December.
  3. John Knight & Linda Yueh & Linda Y. Yueh, 2003. "Job Mobility of Residents and Migrants in Urban China," Economics Series Working Papers 163, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2010. "Great Expectations? The Subjective Well-being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 113-124, January.
  5. Yu CHEN & Sylvie DEMURGER & Martin FOURNIER, 2004. "Wage Differentials and Ownership Structure in Chinese Enterprises," Working Papers 200404, CERDI.
  6. Elliott Parker, 1999. "Are Wage Increases In Chinese State Industry Efficient? Productivity In Nanjing'S Machine-Building Industry," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(1), pages 54-67, 01.
  7. Zhong Zhao, 2005. "Migration, Labor Market Flexibility, and Wage Determination in China: A Review," Labor and Demography 0507009, EconWPA.
  8. Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2001. "The Two-Tier Labor Market in Urban China: Occupational Segregation and Wage Differentials between Urban Residents and Rural Migrants in Shanghai," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 485-504, September.
  9. Lu, Zhigang & Song, Shunfeng, 2006. "Rural-urban migration and wage determination: The case of Tianjin, China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 337-345.
  10. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  11. Liu, Zhiqiang, 2005. "Institution and inequality: the hukou system in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 133-157, March.
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