East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

Jan 14 Workshop


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society Presents


Migration, Child Development and Government Policy in China

Rebecca Myerson

PhD candidate, Harris School of Public Policy

University of Chicago


4:30-6pm, Tuesday

January 14, 2014

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.


According to recent estimates, there are over 260 million people migrating for work within China, and about 70% of their children live apart from one or both parents. Due to the unique hukou (residential permit) system in China, access to government social services for children varies widely by location and migration status. In order to capture how parents make migration decisions and the implications for child development and policy, I developed a simple structural model based on the Solon (2004) extension of Becker and Tomes (1979). In the model, parents care about their own current consumption and their child’s future earnings; they can choose between three migration scenarios (migrating and bringing their child, migrating and leaving their child behind, or staying in the rural area), and they can choose their levels of time and monetary investments in their child. I analyzed possible changes in government policy and corresponding parental reactions including changes in migration, time and monetary investment. More detailed predictions can be developed in future drafts. I find that possible changes in government policy vary in their effects on rural hukou children. Increasing government monetary investment in children in rural areas does not necessarily yield a positive influence on them. In contrast, raising governmental support for migrant children in urban areas increases parental time investment without decreasing total monetary investment in children, and is the best policy considered in this paper.


Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Junyan Jiang (junyanjiang@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang, Dingxin Zhao and Zheng Michael Song

This presentation is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, Center for East Asian Studies, and the Confucius Institute. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.

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