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Welfare Magnets and Internal Migration in China


  • Jin, Zhangfeng


This study examines the causal effects of welfare benefits on internal migration decisions. Using a quasi-experimental migration reform across 283 Chinese cities from 2002 to 2015, combined with a difference-in-differences setup, I show that improved welfare benefits substantially increase migration. The observed impact is more pronounced for individuals such as the young, women and medium-low-skilled workers. It is relatively smaller in destinations exposed to larger positive demand shocks, suggesting that improved welfare benefits reduce migration costs. And it persists over the long term. All these findings confirm the existence of sizable welfare magnet effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Jin, Zhangfeng, 2020. "Welfare Magnets and Internal Migration in China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 498, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:498

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Welfare Magnets; Internal Migration; China; Difference-in-differences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • F66 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Labor

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