An Origin-Destination Linked Approach to Measuring the Effect of Migration on Income in the Context of China

Miao David Chunyu, Brown University
Ying Liu, Brown University
Zhuping Zhou, Renmin University of China

This study offers a new approach to measuring the effect of migration on individual income. Using a new dataset from the 2009 Study of China’s Floating Population, we match migrants at destination with individuals back at their hometown community. This allows us to make systematic comparisons among active migrants, return migrants, and non-migrants, and helps us better understand how migration experience affects one’s income in the context of contemporary Chinese geographic mobility and economic development. We confirmed that migration does predict increased income with duration in the destination. By contrast, once the migrants return home, their prior migration experience does not necessarily benefit them in the hometown labor market. We argue the lack of labor market success for some returnees can be attributable to two factors: (1) the mismatch between returnees’ human capital and expectation and their hometown labor market conditions, and (2) the family demand on returnees.

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Presented in Poster Session 7