Determinants of Internal Migration in Mainland China: Income Differentials or Policy Regulations?

Yinan Sheng , Capital University of Economics and Business
Menghan Zhao, Renmin University of China

The influence of regulations or policies on migration has long been discussed in international migration literature. However, policy impacts on internal migration remain less studied. This paper focuses on the decline of permanent settlement intention of migrant workers in Beijing and discusses how recent regulations that lead to fewer labor market opportunities and raise risks and uncertainty in migration shape their settlement intention. Using representative data collected in 2012, 2014 and 2017, we find that the income differential still largely determines migrant workers’ settlement intention, while its negative impact on their leaving or uncertainty intention has weakened over time. Further, the change in the influence of income differential is most pronounced among the migrant workers in traditional industries, who are the target group of recent migration regulations, rather than those in high-tech industries.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy