Left-Behind Children and Return Decisions of Rural Migrants in China

GATE Working Paper No. 1122

34 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2011

See all articles by Sylvie Démurger

Sylvie Démurger

University of Lyon 2 - Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE)

Hui Xu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper examines how left-behind children influence return migration in China. We first present a simple model that incorporates economic and non-economic motives for migration duration (or intentions to return). Based on Dustmann (2003b), the parent is assumed to be altruistic and to care about the prospects of her left-behind children. We then propose two complementary empirical tests based on an original dataset from a rural household survey carried out in Wuwei County (Anhui province, China) in fall 2008. We first use a discrete-time proportional hazard model to estimate the determinants of migration duration for both on-going migrants with incomplete length of duration and return migrants with complete length of duration. Second, we apply a binary Probit model to study the return intentions of on-going migrants. Both models find consistent results regarding the role of left-behind children as a significant motive for return. First, left-behind children are found to pull their parents back to the village, the effect being stronger for pre-school children. Second, sons are found to play a more important role than daughters in reducing migration duration.

Keywords: return migration, migration duration, left-behind children, discrete-time duration analysis, China

JEL Classification: J61, J13, C41, C25, O53

Suggested Citation

Démurger, Sylvie and Xu, Hui, Left-Behind Children and Return Decisions of Rural Migrants in China (August 1, 2011). GATE Working Paper No. 1122, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1943403 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1943403

Sylvie Démurger (Contact Author)

University of Lyon 2 - Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE) ( email )

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Hui Xu

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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