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The Hukou System and Wage Gap between Urban and Rural Migrant Workers in China : A Meta-Analysis


  • MA, Xinxin
  • LI, Yalan
  • IWASAKI, Ichiro


This study performed a meta-analysis of 506 estimates extracted from 75 studies to estimate the effect size of rural household registration (hukou) on wage levels. Our meta-synthesis results indicated that the negative effect of rural hukou on wages is statistically significant; however, the effect size remains small in terms of the partial correlation coefficient. The results of the meta-regression analysis and test for publication selection bias indicated that the differences in the wage effect of hukou among genders, corporate ownership sectors, and periods are insignificant. We also found that publication selection bias is unlikely, and genuine evidence exists in the literature.

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  • MA, Xinxin & LI, Yalan & IWASAKI, Ichiro, 2023. "The Hukou System and Wage Gap between Urban and Rural Migrant Workers in China : A Meta-Analysis," Discussion Paper Series 751, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:hituec:751

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ma, Xinxin, 2018. "Labor market segmentation by industry sectors and wage gaps between migrants and local urban residents in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 96-115.
    2. Zigraiova, Diana & Havranek, Tomas & Irsova, Zuzana & Novak, Jiri, 2021. "How puzzling is the forward premium puzzle? A meta-analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    3. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming, 2021. "Mama loves you: The gender wage gap and expenditure on children's education in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 1015-1034.
    4. Bajzik, Josef & Havranek, Tomas & Irsova, Zuzana & Schwarz, Jiri, 2020. "Estimating the Armington elasticity: The importance of study design and publication bias," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    5. Zhang, Li & Sharpe, Rhonda Vonshay & Li, Shi & Darity, William A., 2016. "Wage differentials between urban and rural-urban migrant workers in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 222-233.
    6. Stanley, T. D. & Jarrell, Stephen B. & Doucouliagos, Hristos, 2010. "Could It Be Better to Discard 90% of the Data? A Statistical Paradox," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 64(1), pages 70-77.
    7. 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.
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    9. Guo, Hao & Hu, Chenxu & Ding, Xiaozhou, 2022. "Son preference, intrahousehold discrimination, and the gender gap in education in China," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 324-339.
    10. Iwasaki, Ichiro & Ma, Xinxin & Mizobata, Satoshi, 2020. "Corporate ownership and managerial turnover in China and Eastern Europe: A comparative meta-analysis," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    11. Tomas Havranek & Anna Sokolova, 2020. "Do Consumers Really Follow a Rule of Thumb? Three Thousand Estimates from 144 Studies Say 'Probably Not'," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 35, pages 97-122, January.
    12. Tomáš Havránek & T. D. Stanley & Hristos Doucouliagos & Pedro Bom & Jerome Geyer‐Klingeberg & Ichiro Iwasaki & W. Robert Reed & Katja Rost & R. C. M. van Aert, 2020. "Reporting Guidelines For Meta‐Analysis In Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 469-475, July.
    13. Ichiro Iwasaki, 2020. "Meta-Analysis of Emerging Markets and Economies: An Introductory Note for the Special Issue," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(1), pages 1-9, January.
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    More about this item


    household registration (hukou) system; wage gap; rural migrant worker; synthesis; meta-regression analysis; publication selection bias; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • P21 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Socialist and Transition Economies - - - Planning, Coordination, and Reform
    • P31 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Socialist Enterprises and Their Transitions

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