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Migration and Labor Mobility in China

  • Cai Fang


    (Institute of Population and Labor Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

  • Du Yang


    (Division of Labor and Human Capital of the Institute of Population and Labor Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

  • Wang Meiyan


    (Institute of Population and Labor Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

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    China has witnessed the largest labor migration since the reform and opening up policies were implemented. According to the most recent statistics, the total number of rural to urban migrant workers reached 136 million. Migrants are defined as persons who have left out of township for more than 6 months. The migration flow has propelled the economic and societal transition in China through labor productivity enhancement and social restructuring. Accordingly, the Chinese government has improved the migration policies with increasing migration flow and the changes of labor market situations. This report is organized as follows. Section one briefly introduces when and how the migration started by reviewing the history, size and trend, impacts of migration in China and the vulnerability of migrants. Section two reviews the main migration policy changes in the past three decades. Section three illuminates the Lewisian turning point that marks economic development and transitioning in China. Section four discusses the relevance of China’s experiences to other developing economies in terms of economic development and migration policy changes.

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    Paper provided by Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its series Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) with number HDRP-2009-09.

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    Length: 42 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2009
    Date of revision: Apr 2009
    Publication status: Published as background research for the 2009 Human Development Report.
    Handle: RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2009-09
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