IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/oxf/wpaper/381.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Aspirations, Adaptation and Subjective Well-Being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China

Author

Listed:
  • John Knight
  • Ramani Gunatilaka

Abstract

This research is among the first to link the literatures on migration and on subjective well-being in developing countries. It poses the question: why do rural-urban migrant households settled in urban China have an average happiness score lower than that of rural households? It examines the hypothesis that migrants have false expectations because they cannot foresee how their aspirations will adapt to their new situation, and draws on research on both psychology and sociology. Estimated happiness functions and decomposition analyses, based on a 2002 national household survey, suggest that their high aspirations in relation to achievement, influenced by their new reference groups, make for unhappiness. The evidence is consistent with the hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2008. "Aspirations, Adaptation and Subjective Well-Being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," Economics Series Working Papers 381, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:381
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper381.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2003. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, March.
    2. C. Graham & S. Pettinato, 2002. "Frustrated Achievers: Winners, Losers and Subjective Well-Being in New Market Economies," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 100-140.
    3. Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
    4. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2010. "The Rural-Urban Divide in China: Income but Not Happiness?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 506-534.
    5. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
    6. Carol Graham, 2005. "Insights on Development from the Economics of Happiness," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 201-231.
    7. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    8. Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2010. "Great Expectations? The Subjective Well-being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 113-124, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Dedehouanou, Senakpon & Maertens, Miet, 2011. "Participation in Modern Agri-Food Supply Chain in Senegal and Happiness," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114447, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth & Qingguo Zhai, 2010. "Subjective Well-Being of China’s Off-Farm Migrants," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 315-333, June.
    3. Karsten von Kleist, 2010. "Migrant happiness in China," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 157-166.
    4. Frijters, Paul & Liu, Amy Y.C. & Meng, Xin, 2012. "Are optimistic expectations keeping the Chinese happy?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 159-171.
    5. Rongwei Chu & Henry Hail, 2014. "Winding Road Toward the Chinese Dream: The U-shaped Relationship Between Income and Life Satisfaction Among Chinese Migrant Workers," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 235-246, August.
    6. Zhiming Cheng, 2014. "Layoffs and Urban Poverty in the State-Owned Enterprise Communities in Shaanxi Province, China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 199-233, March.
    7. Shiqing Jiang & Ming Lu & Hiroshi Sato, 2009. "Happiness in the Dual Society of Urban China: Hukou Identity, Horizontal Inequality and Heterogeneous," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-020, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    8. Guillen-Royo, Monica, 2011. "Reference group consumption and the subjective wellbeing of the poor in Peru," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 259-272, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rural-Urban Migration; Subjective Well-Being; Happiness; Relative Deprivation; Aspirations; China;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:381. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anne Pouliquen). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/sfeixuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.