Internal Chinese Welfare Migration: Some causal findings

A new GLO Discussion Paper provides evidence that improved welfare benefits substantially increase internal migration in China.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 498, 2020

Welfare Magnets and Internal Migration in ChinaDownload PDF
Jin, Zhangfeng

GLO Fellow Zhangfeng Jin

Author Abstract: 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.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.


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