Hukou Changes and Subjective Well-Being

25 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2015

See all articles by Massimiliano Tani

Massimiliano Tani

University of New South Wales - Australian Defence Force Academy; IZA Institute of Labor Economics


The literature on subjective well-being has highlighted the negative effects associated with the restrictions and inequality imposed by the hukou system on China's rural population. However, quantifying the cost of holding a rural hukou has generally been problematic, principally for lack of suitable data or measurements. Thanks to RUMiC, a new longitudinal database on China, this limitation can be overcome by exploiting exogenous changes in hukou status due to expropriation. The results support that granting an urban hukou substantially enhances subjective well-being within the household, especially for the household heads. The results complement a growing literature on subjective well-being focusing on China.

Keywords: subjective well-being, expropriation, China

JEL Classification: D19, H13, I31, J61, R20

Suggested Citation

Tani, Massimiliano, Hukou Changes and Subjective Well-Being. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9451, Available at SSRN:

Massimiliano Tani (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales - Australian Defence Force Academy ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
+612 6268 8512 (Phone)
+612 6248 8450 (Fax)


IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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