Rural-Urban migration and education in China: a case study

Type Journal Article - Duke East Asia Nexus
Title Rural-Urban migration and education in China: a case study
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
Mass rural-urban migration in China has captured the attention of media outlets around the world. However, these reports tend to frame migration itself as a detrimental process and a testament to China’s unjust human rights. In this paper, I wish to frame migration in a more positive light: at the household level, migration offers many benefits to rural farmers, while at a village and provincial level, migration can have a positive or negative effect on overall welfare depending on many factors, some exogenous. More importantly, I hope to show that in order to better conditions for China’s rural poor, policymakers2 must focus on integrating their solutions with migration patterns while factoring in variables such as history, culture, and politics. This paper focuses specifically on education as a measure of welfare and is organized into four sections. Section I discusses historical Chinese policies and practices that are relevant to modern education policy formulation. Section II presents existing microeconomic theories on migration, and Section III critiques existing theories on the relationship between migration and education. Section IV outlines my framework for the analysis of this relationship. Finally, Section V analyzes empirical evidence from China and its policy implications

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