Three essays on the discourse and consequences of rural-urban migration in China

Long, Wenjin (2019) Three essays on the discourse and consequences of rural-urban migration in China. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Rural-urban migration in China is the largest human movement in the history of the world in terms of quantity. Rural-urban migrants make great contributions to urban economy and rural development in China. Yet, they usually lack formal supports in both urban and rural areas. The thesis consists of three essays related to rural-urban migration, looking at the discourse and consequences of rural-urban migration in China. The thesis augments the study of migration, social network, and human capital.

The first essay in the Chapter 2 is about how job contact network affect rural-urban migrants' wages. In the nationally representative household data from the 2008 wave of Rural Urban Migration in China (RUMIC), nearly two thirds of rural-urban migrants found their employment through family members, relatives, friends or acquaintances. Using a switch regression approach, we find evidence of positive selection effects of the use of networks on wages. Users of networks tend to be older, to have migrated longer ago and to be less educated. In addition, married workers and those from villages with more out-migrants are more likely to use networks, while those without local residential registration status are less likely. Controlling for selectivity, we find a large negative impact of network use on wages. Using job contacts brings access to urban employment, but at the cost of markedly lower wages.

The second essay in the Chapter 3 provides a four dimensional job quality index for rural-urban migrants, looking at the effect of job contact network on job quality. The multidimensional job quality index has captured job reality, combining information on earnings, working time, job stability, and work-related social insurances in one index. By using data of RUMIC 2008 and employing the endogenous switching regression for ordered outcomes, we find unobserables that affect the use of network also impact the job quality of the non-users of network. The positive selectivity does not exist in users of network. We demonstrate that the use of social network brings low job quality for rural-urban migrants, especially for the users of network. The findings are robust to a range of alternate measures of the job quality index, and to different identification methods.

The third essay in the Chapter 4 explores the effects of the rural school consolidation on the living arrangement of rented accommodation for students and how rented accommodation affects students' academic performance in China. It is the first paper –to examine the effect of rented accommodation on children’s academic performance and to use a double robust estimator with multivalued treatments on this topic. Using a survey of 9,071 Grades 4 and 5 students in 133 primary schools in Shaanxi Province in 2013, we find that one quarter of students are rented accommodation near their schools. Rented accommodation results from students living long distances from schools, the unavailability of local schools and the low quality of schools near their home villages. Overall, rented accommodation brings students better academic performance, especially for boys. The study indicates that rented accommodation might offer another way to avoid the negative effects of school merge policy and boarding schools.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Song, Lina
Zhang, Jing
Keywords: Rural-urban migration, Social networks, Job contact, Wages, Job quality, Rural education, Rental Accommodation, China
Subjects: H Social sciences > HB Economic theory
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 57645
Depositing User: Long, Wenjin
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 14:34
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 14:34

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