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Are all Migrants Really Worse off in Urban Labour Markets?: New empirical evidence from China

Author

Listed:
  • Jason Gagnon

    (OECD)

  • Theodora Xenogiani

    (OECD)

  • Chunbing Xing

Abstract

The rapid and massive increase in rural-to-urban worker flows to the coast of China has drawn recent attention to the welfare of migrants working in urban regions, particularly to their working conditions and pay; serious concern is raised regarding pay discrimination against rural migrants. This paper uses data from a random draw of the 2005 Chinese national census survey to shed more light on the discrimination issue, by making comparisons of earnings and the sector of work between rural migrants on one hand, and urban residents and urban migrants on the other. Contrary to popular belief, we find no earnings discrimination against rural migrants compared to urban residents. However, rural migrants are found to be discriminated in terms of the sector in which they work, with a vast majority working in the informal sector lacking adequate social protection. L’augmentation rapide et massive des mouvements ruraux-à-urbains d’ouvriers vers la côte de la Chine a appelé à l’attention récente le bien-être des migrants travaillant dans des régions urbaines, en particulier vis-à-vis de leurs conditions de travail et de salaire ; la préoccupation a d’autant plus augmenté concernant la discrimination de salaire contre les migrants ruraux. Ce document emploie des données d’un tirage aléatoire du recensement national chinois de 2005 pour éclaircir la question de la discrimination en faisant des comparaisons de revenus et de secteur de travail entre les migrants ruraux d’une part, et les résidents et migrants urbains de l’autre. Contrairement à la croyance populaire, nous ne trouvons aucune discrimination de revenus entre migrants ruraux et résidents urbains. Cependant, les migrants ruraux s’avèrent être distingués en termes de secteur dans lequel ils travaillent, une grande majorité d’entre eux travaillant dans le secteur informel, caractérisé par un manque d’accès à une protection sociale adéquate.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Gagnon & Theodora Xenogiani & Chunbing Xing, 2009. "Are all Migrants Really Worse off in Urban Labour Markets?: New empirical evidence from China," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 278, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:278-en
    DOI: 10.1787/221523621330
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2015. "Education expansion and returns to schooling in urban China, 2001–2010: evidence from three waves of the China Urban Labor Survey," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 178-201, April.
    2. Corrado Giulietti & Guangjie Ning & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2012. "Self-employment of rural-to-urban migrants in China," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 96-117, March.
    3. Jisheng Yang & Di Ai, 2019. "Effect of the Big Five Personality Traits on Entrepreneurial Probability: Influence of China’s Household Registration System," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 487-503, December.
    4. Fields, Gary & Song, Yang, 2020. "Modeling migration barriers in a two-sector framework: A welfare analysis of the hukou reform in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 293-301.
    5. Jason Gagnon & Theodora Xenogiani & Chunbing Xing, 2009. "Are all Migrants Really Worse off in Urban Labour Markets?: New empirical evidence from China," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 278, OECD Publishing.
    6. Cui, Yuling & Nahm, Daehoon & Tani, Massimiliano, 2012. "The Determinants of Rural Migrants' Employment Choice in China: Results from a Joint Estimation," IZA Discussion Papers 6968, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. 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).
    8. Fields, Gary S. & Song, Yang, 2013. "A Theoretical Model of the Chinese Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 7278, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Ariga, Kenn & Ohtake, Fumio & Sasaki, Masaru & Wu, Zheren, 2012. "Wage Growth through Job Hopping in China," IZA Discussion Papers 7104, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Xiahai Wei & Tony Fang & Yang Jiao & Jiahui Li, 2019. "Language Premium Myth or Fact: Evidence from Migrant Workers of Guangdong, China," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 356-386, September.
    11. Danzer, Alexander M. & Dietz, Barbara & Gatskova, Ksenia & Schmillen, Achim, 2014. "Showing off to the new neighbors? Income, socioeconomic status and consumption patterns of internal migrants," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 230-245.
    12. Debayan Pakrashi & Paul Frijters, 2017. "Migration and Discrimination in Urban China: A Decomposition Approach," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 63(4), pages 821-840, December.
    13. Song, Yang, 2014. "What should economists know about the current Chinese hukou system?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 200-212.
    14. Yuling Cui & Daehoon Nahm & Massimiliano Tani, 2017. "Employment Choice And Ownership Structure In Transitional China," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 62(02), pages 325-344, June.
    15. Cui, Yuling & Nahm, Daehoon & Tani, Massimiliano, 2013. "Self-Employment in China: Are Rural Migrant Workers and Urban Residents Alike?," IZA Discussion Papers 7191, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China, 2001-2010: Evidence from Three Waves of the China Urban Labor Survey," Monash Economics Working Papers 50-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    17. Vahan Sargsyan, 2015. "Differential Treatment in the Chinese Labor Market. Is Hukou Type the Only Problem?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp548, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; Chine; discrimination; discrimination; emploi informel; informal employment; migration; migration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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