The Effect of Maternal Migration on Early Childhood Development in Rural China

35 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2016

See all articles by Ai Yue

Ai Yue

Northwest University (China)

Sean Sylvia

Renmin University of China - School of Economics

Yu Bai

Center for Experimental Economics in Education

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University

Renfu Luo

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP)

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Date Written: December 4, 2016

Abstract

Nearly a quarter of all children under the age of two in China are left behind in the countryside as parents migrate to urban areas for work. We use a longitudinal survey following young children and their caregivers from 6 to 30 months of age to estimate the effects of maternal migration on development, health, and nutritional outcomes in the critical first stages of life. We find significant negative effects on cognitive development and indicators of dietary quality. Taken together with research showing long-term consequences of early life insults, our results imply that, although the reallocation of labor from rural to urban areas has been a key driver of China’s prosperity in recent decades, it may entail a significant human capital cost for the next generation.

Keywords: Early Childhood Development, Migration, Left-behind Children, China

JEL Classification: J13, I21, I15, J61, O12

Suggested Citation

Yue, Ai and Sylvia, Sean and Bai, Yu and Shi, Yaojiang and Luo, Renfu and Rozelle, Scott, The Effect of Maternal Migration on Early Childhood Development in Rural China (December 4, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2890108 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2890108

Ai Yue

Northwest University (China) ( email )

229 Taibai North Rd
Beilin
Xian, Shaanxi
China

Sean Sylvia

Renmin University of China - School of Economics ( email )

No. 59, Zhongguancun Street
Beijing, Beijing 100080
China

Yu Bai (Contact Author)

Center for Experimental Economics in Education ( email )

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710062
China

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University ( email )

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710062
China

Renfu Luo

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) ( email )

Building 917, Datun Road
Beijing 100101
China

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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