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Return migrants : The rise of new entrepreneurs in rural China

  • Sylvie Démurger


    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - PRES Université de Lyon - CNRS)

  • Hui Xu

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - PRES Université de Lyon - CNRS)

This paper analyzes return migrants' occupational choice upon their return to their home village, by using an original rural household survey conducted in Wuwei county (Anhui province, China) in 2008. We apply two complementary approaches : a horizontal comparative analysis of occupational choice between non-migrants and return migrants, and a vertical investigation of the impact of migration experience on returnees only. Two main findings are drawn up from the estimation of probit models which account for potential selection bias and endogeneity. First, return migrants are more likely to be self-employed and to opt for higher ability jobs than non-migrants. Second, both return savings and the frequency of job changes during migration increase the likelihood for return migrants to become self-employed. These findings suggest that (a) working experience during migration enhances individual's human capital and entrepreneurial ability, and (b) repatriated migration experience is a key stimulating factor in promoting rural entrepreneur activity.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00627732.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Publication status: Published in World Development, Elsevier, 2011, 39 (10), pp. 1847-1861
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00627732
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