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Access to Social Insurance in Urban China: A Comparative Study of Rural-Urban and Urban-Urban Migrants in Beijing

Author

Listed:
  • Zhiming Cheng
  • Ingrid Nielsen
  • Russell Smyth

Abstract

Since 1958 the hukou (household registration) system has assigned Chinese citizens either a rural or urban status. Some studies argue that the rural-to-urban migrants in China who do not have urban hukou are not entitled to urban social insurance schemes, due to institutional discrimination, which applies differing treatment to urban and rural hukou (chengxiang fenge). Although rural-urban migrants participate less in the social insurance system than their counterparts with urban hukou, a closer examination of recent policy developments shows that migrants actually do have the legal right to access the system. This implies that discrimination between rural and urban workers has been declining, and distinctions based on household registration status are less able to explain China's current urban transition. This paper provides a new way of examining Chinese migrants' social insurance participation, by adopting a framework that includes both rural-to-urban migrants and urban-to-urban migrants, which are an important, but less studied, migrant group. Among our key findings are that urban migrants are more likely to sign a labour contract than rural migrants; urban migrants have higher participation rates in social insurance than rural migrants; having a labour contract has a greater impact than hukou status in determining whether Beijing's floating population accesses social insurance; and urban migrants who have signed a labour contract have higher participation rates in social insurance than either rural migrants or urban migrants without a labour contract.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhiming Cheng & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth, 2013. "Access to Social Insurance in Urban China: A Comparative Study of Rural-Urban and Urban-Urban Migrants in Beijing," Monash Economics Working Papers 05-13, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2013-05
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    File URL: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/research/papers/2013/0513accesssocialchengnielsensmyth.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Rickne, Johanna, 2013. "Labor market conditions and social insurance in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 52-68.
    2. Christine Wen & Jeremy L. Wallace, 2019. "Toward Human-Centered Urbanization? Housing Ownership and Access to Social Insurance Among Migrant Households in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(13), pages 1-14, June.
    3. Zhiming Cheng, 2014. "The Effects of Employee Involvement and Participation on Subjective Wellbeing: Evidence from Urban China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 457-483, September.
    4. Wei, Xiahai & Fang, Tony & Jiao, Yang & Li, Jiahui, 2019. "Language Premium Myth or Fact: Evidence from Migrant Workers of Guangdong, China," IZA Discussion Papers 12248, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Ying Jiang & Linghan Zhang & Junyi Zhang, 2019. "Energy consumption by rural migrant workers and urban residents with a hukou in China: quality-of-life-related factors and built environment," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 99(3), pages 1431-1453, December.
    6. Di Qi & Yichao Wu, 2016. "Child Income Poverty Levels and Trends in Urban China from 1989 to 2011," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 9(4), pages 1043-1058, December.
    7. Yeqing Huang & Fei Guo, 2017. "Welfare Programme Participation and the Wellbeing of Non-local Rural Migrants in Metropolitan China: A Social Exclusion Perspective," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 63-85, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    rural-to-urban migrants; urban-to-urban migrants; social insurance; labour contract;

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