Self-Employment of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China

23 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2011

See all articles by Corrado Giulietti

Corrado Giulietti

Department of Economics

Guangjie Ning

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Harvard University; German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); University of Bonn; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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This paper focuses on the determinants of self-employment among rural to urban migrants in China. Two self-selection mechanisms are analysed: the first relates to the manner in which migrants choose self-employment or paid work based on the potential gains from either type of employment; the second takes into account that the determinants of the migration decision can be correlated with employment choices. Using data from the 2008 Rural-Urban Migration in China and Indonesia (RUMiCI) survey, a selection model with endogenous switching is estimated. Earnings estimates are then used to derive the wage differential, which in turn is used to model the employment choice. The procedure is extended to account for migration selectivity and to compare individuals with different migration background and employment histories. The results indicate that self-employed individuals are positively selected with respect to their unobserved characteristics. Furthermore, the wage differential is found to be an important driver of the self-employment choice.

Keywords: self-employment, wages, rural to urban migration, selection bias magnets, European Union

JEL Classification: J23, J61, O15

Suggested Citation

Giulietti, Corrado and Ning, Guangjie and Zimmermann, Klaus F., Self-Employment of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5805. Available at SSRN:

Corrado Giulietti (Contact Author)

Department of Economics ( email )

University Rd.
Southampton SO17 1BJ, Hampshire SO17 1LP
United Kingdom

Guangjie Ning

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117

University of Bonn

Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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