The Labour Participation Decision of the Rural Left-Behind Elderly from a Cultural Perspective

32 Pages Posted: 7 May 2020

See all articles by Chen Zhu

Chen Zhu

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Students

Jim Huangnan Shen

School of Management, Fudan University ; Center for International Development, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University

Chien-Chiang Lee

Nanchang University

Shouying Liu

Renmin University of China - School of Economics

Date Written: April 13, 2020

Abstract

Alleviating poverty amongst the rural left-behind elderly is not only an important goal for China’s rural revitalization, but also for improving pension security amongst the rural left-behind elderly. However, due to the application age range of the elderly-care policy and the shortage of support within rural society, the left-behind elderly always adopt the practice of labour participation to fund their pensions. Based on this fact, in order to study the effect of culture as an informal institutional constraint on the left-behind elderly’s ability to self-fund their pension through labour participation, we adopt the study of 2014 by Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, which surveyed data collected from thousands of rural Chinese villages. From the research, we show that the cultural constraints caused by religion have significantly increased the probability of labour participation by the left-behind elderly. However, this effect is not decided by culture’s “value identification”, but is more a reflection of culture’s “economic function”. Specifically, the construction of a social network, substitution of human capital and the supplement of an official security system are important channels by which culture could play a role in supporting the left-behind elderly.

Keywords: Economic needs; Left-behind elderly; Labour participation; Social security; Pension mode

JEL Classification: D1; I2; O1

Suggested Citation

Zhu, Chen and Shen, Jim Huangnan and Lee, Chien-Chiang and Liu, Shouying, The Labour Participation Decision of the Rural Left-Behind Elderly from a Cultural Perspective (April 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3574567 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3574567

Chen Zhu

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Students ( email )

China

Jim Huangnan Shen (Contact Author)

School of Management, Fudan University ( email )

Shanghai
China

Center for International Development, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University ( email )

One Eliot Street Building
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Chien-Chiang Lee

Nanchang University ( email )

999 Xuefu Avenue
Hong Gu Tan New District
Nanchang, Jiangxi 330031
China
330031 (Fax)

Shouying Liu

Renmin University of China - School of Economics ( email )

No. 59, Zhongguancun Street
Beijing, Beijing 100080
China

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