آثار جانبی سرمایه انسانی و مهاجرت روستا به شهر: شواهدی از مناطق روستایی چین
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|18584||2008||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : China Economic Review, Volume 19, Issue 3, September 2008, Pages 521–535
This study examines the determinants of rural–urban migration paying special attention to the role of human capital externalities in the rural sector. Using data from a well-known household survey in China, we find that in rural areas human capital externalities have a discouraging effect on rural–urban migration—everything else being the same, a rural resident from a county rich in human capital is less likely to migrate to the city than his counterpart from another county poor in human capital endowment. We also find some evidence that human capital exerts positive external effects on the likelihood for a rural resident to choose off-farm employment and on labor income in the rural sector. These results are robust to alternative model specifications and estimation methods. One important policy implication from this study is that expanding education opportunities in rural areas can help curtail rural–urban migration and therefore alleviate urban unemployment pressure.
Rural–urban migration is an essential part of economic development, through which human resources move from the agricultural sector where the marginal product of labor is low or zero to the urban industrial sector where the marginal product of labor is high. While rural–urban migration helps improve the efficiency of sectoral allocation of resources, it also exacerbates, to a large extent, the widespread problem of urban unemployment in developing countries. This is especially true in China, as reforms of state-owned enterprises have resulted in massive layoffs of redundant workers in the city. According to the basic Harris–Todaro model,1 urban job creation programs are ineffective in solving the unemployment problem because they raise the expected payoffs to rural migrants and, as a result, lead to a higher, rather than lower, level of urban unemployment.2 One solution is to control rural–urban migration through administrative means. A policy tool that China relied upon is the hukou or household registration system coupled with a ration system on staple food in urban areas. Although that policy has successfully warded off unplanned migrations, it has been criticized as an unfair development policy that promotes industrial growth at the expense of the agricultural sector and urban development at the expense of the rural sector. It also is contrary to the principle of economic efficiency that requires the free movement of human resources across different regions and sectors. From a rural development perspective, rural–urban migration may be harmful because it depletes the rural sector of valuable human capital as the young and better-educated rural residents are among the first to migrate to the city. 3 There is a need to identify rural–urban migration policies that can strike a balance among three objectives: efficiency, urban unemployment, and rural development. A substantial amount of research has been devoted to the understanding of the determinants of the migration decision.4Lall, Selod, and Shalizi (2006) contains a comprehensive survey of the empirical literature, which finds that rural–urban income gaps, education, gender, family composition are among the factors that affect the migration decision in the way predicted by various theories of migration. Numerous studies examining the Chinese experience also offer corroborating evidence. Notable studies include, among others, Zhao, 1999a and Zhao, 1999b, Hare (1999), De Brauw, Huang, Rozelle, Zhang, and Zhang (2002), and Giles and Mu (2005). The present study makes a contribution to the vast literature on rural–urban migration. Our approach differs from the existing literature by focusing on human capital externalities in the rural sector. This allows us to gain new insights into the general role of human capital in influencing the migration decision and to derive policy recommendations that help curtail rural–urban migration and hence alleviate urban unemployment pressure. We argue that human capital at the aggregate level can act as an inhibitor to migration. The economic intuition is straightforward. The migration decision of an individual is made by weighing the expected income or utility of migration against that of no migration. Migration occurs when the net gain is positive, and any factor that reduces this net gain would have a dissuading effect on migration on the margin. Our argument is that if human capital can raise, through its external effect, the payoffs from rural activities, an increase in the overall level of educational attainment of the rural population would make staying in the rural sector a more attractive choice (at least for some potential migrants) relative to migrating to the city. This would be particularly true if there are plenty of local off-farm employment opportunities, in which human capital externalities are more important than in on-farm productions. Thus, higher local human capital endowment would make migration a less attractive option relative to staying in the rural sector, and on-farm activities less attractive than local off-farm employment. The main finding of the paper, based on an econometric analysis of a well-known household survey in China, is that in rural areas human capital externalities have a discouraging effect on rural–urban migration. That is, everything else being the same, a rural resident from a county rich in human capital is less likely to migrate to the city than his counterpart from another county poor in human capital endowment. This result is obtained from both binomial and multinomial logit regression analyses. While in the former rural residents are assumed to choose between migrating to the city and staying in the rural sector, in the multinomial logit model they are faced with three employment choices: migrate to and work in the city, work in the rural off-farm sector, and work in the rural on-farm sector. The multinomial logit regressions also suggest that human capital exerts a positive external effect on the likelihood for a rural resident to choose local off-farm employment. Corroborating with this result, we find a positive relationship between labor income in the rural sector and local human capital endowment. All of these results are robust to alternative model specifications and estimation methods. One important policy implication of our findings is that expanding education opportunities in rural areas can be a viable strategy to curtail rural–urban migration and hence help alleviate urban unemployment pressure—quite contrary to the inference drawn by some previous studies that improving education of the rural population would hasten rural–urban migration. This policy recommendation accords well with China's official policy as reflected in the motto “leaving the farmland without leaving the village.” The rest of the paper is organized as follows. We briefly discuss the data in Section 2 and econometric methodology in Section 3. Section 4 presents the estimation results. We offer some concluding remarks in the last section.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this paper, we investigate the determinants of rural–urban migration paying special attention to the role of human capital externalities in the rural sector. Our approach is in conformity with the exiting literature that views rural–urban migration as being driven by the difference in the expected incomes or utilities between migrating to the city and staying in the rural sector. We depart from the literature, however, by explicitly recognizing that the presence of human capital externalities in rural areas can restrain rural–urban migration. This is quite intuitive because any factor that has the effect of reducing the relative payoffs of migration will make migration a less attractive choice. Apart from the fact that it has not been considered by the vast literature, accounting the role of human capital externalities in the analysis allows us to shed new light on the general role of human capital in influencing individual decisions regarding rural–urban migration and employment choice in the rural sector. While for a rural resident the likelihood of migration increases with his own educational attainment, as shown by the existing literature and confirmed by the present study as well, our estimates show that, ceteris paribus, an increase in the average educational attainment or college graduates as a share of the rural population reduces a rural resident's propensity to migrate. We also find some evidence that human capital exerts a positive external effect on the likelihood for a rural resident to choose rural off-farm employment over on-farm employment. This result is corroborated by the finding of a positive relation between labor income and human capital endowment in the rural sector. Evidently, human capital externalities increase the payoffs of off-farm employment relative to migration and on-farm employment by raising the level of labor income in the rural off-farm sector. These results are by and large corroborated by the IV estimates. Our empirical analyses further suggest that, while human capital externalities play an important role in the migration decision of individuals of all education backgrounds, the less educated seem to be somewhat more susceptible to the influence of local human capital. A unique and important policy implication from our analyses is that expanding education opportunities in rural areas can be a viable strategy for curtailing rural–urban migration and alleviating urban unemployment pressure—quite contrary to the implication presented in some studies that promoting rural education would hasten rural–urban migration and hence exacerbate unemployment problem in the urban sector. While we find some suggestive evidence that human capital endowment and off-farm employment opportunities are positively correlated, it is desirable to look for direct evidence on how the concentration of human capital helps create jobs. Do areas rich in human capital have more entrepreneurs than areas poor in human capital? Do areas rich in human capital attract more public or private investments than areas poor in human capital? The answer to these questions will provide further insights into the role of human capital in rural–urban migration as well as rural development. We will look into these issues in future research.