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To Migrate With or Without Ones’ Children in China - That is the Question


  • Yiwen Chen

    (CREA, Université du Luxembourg)

  • Vincent Fromentin

    (Université de Lorraine, Nancy et CREA, Luxembourg)

  • Ioana Salagean

    (STATEC, Luxembourg)

  • Benteng Zou

    (CREA, Université du Luxembourg)


Where should Chinese internal migrant parents locate their school-aged children: migrate with them or leave them behind? And should they invest in private education of their children? Empirical evidence based on the 2009 wave of the Rural-Urban Migration Survey in China (RUMiC) data is inconclusive. We use an overlapping generations model to find a theoretical optimum that maximizes parents’ utility which includes the children’s educational performance. Depending on the educational investment parents make and the relocation cost of children, we provide necessary and sufficient conditions for migrant parents to take their children to migrate and whether they should provide their children with private education. As the choices of migrant parents affect not only their children’s human capital accumulation, but also on the economic potential of their descendants, we present both short- and long-term consequences of the parents decision.

Suggested Citation

  • Yiwen Chen & Vincent Fromentin & Ioana Salagean & Benteng Zou, 2017. "To Migrate With or Without Ones’ Children in China - That is the Question," DEM Discussion Paper Series 17-06, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:luc:wpaper:17-06

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    Cited by:

    1. Yiwen Chen & Ioana Salagean & Benteng Zou, 2020. "Private Educational Expenditure Inequality between Migrant and Urban Households in China’s Cities," DEM Discussion Paper Series 20-03, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.

    More about this item


    Migrant children; left-behind children; hukou; China; educational performance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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