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Evolution of the Chinese Rural-Urban Migrant Labor Market from 2002 to 2007

  • Qu, Zhaopeng (Frank)


    (Beijing Normal University)

  • Zhao, Zhong


    (Renmin University of China)

The paper studies the dynamic change of the migrant labor market in China from 2002 to 2007 using two comparable data sets. Our focus is on the rural-urban migration decision, the wage structure of migrants, the urban labor market segmentation between migrants and urban natives, and the changes of these aspects from 2002 to 2007. We find that prior migration experience is a key factor for the migration decision of rural household members, and its importance keeps increasing from 2002 to 2007. Our results show that there is a significant increase in wages among both migrants and urban natives over this 5-year period, but migrants have enjoyed faster wage growth, and most of the increase of wages among migrants can be attributed to the increase of returns to their characteristics. We also find evidence suggesting convergence of urban labor markets for migrants and for urban natives during this 5-year period.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5421.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: China Agricultural Economic Review, 2014, 6(2), 316 - 334, [Details & Download]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5421
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  1. John Knight & Lina Song, 2003. "Increasing urban wage inequality in China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(4), pages 597-619, 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, vol. 37(4), pages 610-628, December.
  3. repec:pse:psecon:2008-20 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. John Knight & Linda Yueh, 2009. "Segmentation or competition in China's urban labour market?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 79-94, January.
  5. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2005. "Has China crossed the river? The evolution of wage structure in urban China during reform and retrenchment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 644-663, December.
  6. Dong, Xiao-yuan & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2009. "Labor restructuring in China: Toward a functioning labor market," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 287-305, June.
  7. Zhong Zhao, 2005. "Migration, Labor Market Flexibility, and Wage Determination in China: A Review," Labor and Demography 0507009, EconWPA.
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