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

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  • Ayako Kondo
  • Dongshu Ou

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ayako Kondo & Dongshu Ou, 2010. "In Search of a Better Life: The Occupational Attainment of Rural and Urban Migrants in China," ISER Discussion Paper 0793, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0793
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    File URL: http://www.iser.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/dp/2010/DP0793.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Knight, John & Yueh, Linda, 2004. "Job mobility of residents and migrants in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 637-660, December.
    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, pages 610-628.
    3. Liu, Zhiqiang, 2005. "Institution and inequality: the hukou system in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 133-157, March.
    4. Yu CHEN & Sylvie DEMURGER & Martin FOURNIER, 2003. "Wage Differentials and Ownership Structure in Chinese Enterprises," Working Papers 200320, CERDI.
    5. 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.
    6. Alan de Brauw & John Giles, 2017. "Migrant Opportunity and the Educational Attainment of Youth in Rural China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(1), pages 272-311.
    7. 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, January.
    8. 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.
    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. Zhong Zhao, 2005. "Migration, Labor Market Flexibility, and Wage Determination in China: A Review," Labor and Demography 0507009, EconWPA.
    11. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ou, Dongshu & Zhao, Zhong, 2016. "Higher Education Expansion and Labor Market Outcomes for Young College Graduates," IZA Discussion Papers 9643, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Ariga, Kenn & Ohtake, Fumio & Sasaki, Masaru & Wu, Zheren, 2012. "Wage Growth through Job Hopping in China," IZA Discussion Papers 7104, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Vahan Sargsyan, 2015. "Differential Treatment in the Chinese Labor Market. Is Hukou Type the Only Problem?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp548, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.

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