Relative Concerns of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China

37 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2011

See all articles by Alpaslan Akay

Alpaslan Akay

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Olivier Bargain

IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University College Dublin (UCD)

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Global Labor Organization (GLO); UNU-MERIT; Maastricht University, Department of Economics; Free University Berlin; University of Bonn; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Journal of Population Economics

Date Written: February 1, 2011

Abstract

As their environment changes, migrants constitute an interesting group to study the effect of relative income on subjective well-being. This paper focuses on the huge population of rural-to-urban migrants in China. Using a novel dataset, we find that the well-being of migrants depends on several reference groups: it is negatively affected by the income of other migrants and workers of home regions; in contrast, we identify a positive, 'signal' effect vis-à-vis urban workers: larger urban incomes indicate higher income prospects for the migrants. These effects are particularly strong for migrants who wish to settle permanently, decline with years since migrations and change with other characteristics including work conditions and community ties.

Keywords: China, relative concerns, well-being

JEL Classification: C90, D63

Suggested Citation

Akay, Alpaslan and Bargain, Olivier and Zimmermann, Klaus F., Relative Concerns of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China (February 1, 2011). IZA Discussion Paper No. 5480, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1765645

Alpaslan Akay (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Olivier Bargain

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University College Dublin (UCD) ( email )

Belfield, Dublin 4 4
Ireland
+353 1 716 8357 (Phone)
+353 1 283 0068 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ucd.ie/economics/staff/obargain/obargain.htm

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Bonn
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://glabor.org/

UNU-MERIT ( email )

Keizer Karelplein 19
Maastricht, 6211TC
Netherlands

Maastricht University, Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

University of Bonn

Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Journal of Population Economics

Tiergartenstr. 17
D-69121 Heidelberg
Germany

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