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Description
TitleEssays on Rural-Urban Migration in Hinterland China
thesisID51
Year2009
AuthorMeng, Lei
UniversityU.C. San Diego
Thesis typePh.D
DisciplineEconomics and international affairs
Number of pages124
AbstractUsing self-collected rural household data in Zhijiang municipality, Hubei
province, China, my dissertation addresses three di®erent aspects of rural-urban
migration in hinterland China. First, I study the relationship between origin in-
come and the individual's migration decision. I instrument the key variable, the
household land, using the administrative record of initial land allocated by the state
to the households in the early 1980s, and find that rural-urban migration selects
negatively on landholding. I also study individuals' migration decisions that were
not selected on the parental migration choices versus those that were. My find-
ings show that the selectivity problem is important. While a negative relationship
between landholding and migration propensity is found for the descendants of an
immobile cohort of rural residents, selectivity alters the result for the descendants
of a mobile cohort of villagers and a positive relationship can emerge.

Second, I examine the causal impact of the grain subsidy, which was
ushered in by China's agricultural policy shift since 2004, on villagers' urban-
bound migration propensity. My study validates the concern that the grain subsidy is dissuading farmers to engage in migratory work, however, the magnitude of the
reduced incidence of rural-urban migration is modest. If China values the welfare
of the rural sector and would like to continue subsidizing its grain production in
a WTO-compliant way, it can do so without jeopardizing the country's process of
rural-urban migration or notably reduce the local welfare that might result from
a loss of the migrant income.

Lastly, I focus on the fall of the marriage rates of rural men in their
early twenties and study the extent to which the rise in rural young women's
participation in migratory work has contributed to this fall. I ¯nd that (1) a
10 percentage point increase in the local female out-migration reduces rural male
marriage propensity by 5%; (2) the impact was felt by both non-migrant and
migrant men, but the marriage propensity of migrant men was a®ected more by
female out-migration than non-migrant men; (3) the more educated the migrant
men, the less severely their marriage probability was a®ected by the local female
out-migration.
Keywords (en)China;land;household;migration;Zhijiang;rice;cotton;farmer;grain;subsidy;female;women;marriage;bride;market;price
LanguageEnglish
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