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Access to Migration for Rural Households (WP-15-11)

Cynthia Kinnan, Shing-Yi Wang, and Yongxiang Wang

This paper exploits two unique features of China's history to study the effects of access to internal migration: reforms to the household registration (hukou) system, and historical migration flows. The researchers show that temporary migration due to a government policy called the “sent-down youth” (SDY) program created lasting inter-province links, so that decades later, hukou reforms in cities which sent SDY increased migration in provinces where those SDY temporarily resided. Using this variation, the researchers find that improved access to migration leads to higher consumption levels and lower consumption volatility for rural households. Furthermore, household production shifts into high-risk, high-return activities. 

Cynthia Kinnan, Assistant Professor of Economics and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Shing-Yi Wang, Assistant Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Yongxiang Wang, Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

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