The evolution of the wage gap between rural migrants and the urban labour force in Chinese cities

Peer Reviewed
11 September 2019

Dandan Zhang

An increasing earning gap between rural migrants and urban residents has recently aroused public concern about rising urban poverty asscociated with migration of rural people into Chinese cities. To address the issue, this paper explores the possibility of wage assimilation for rural migrants towards their urban counterparts and its determinants between 1999 and 2009, by applying an economic assimilation model to analyse a repeated cross‐sectional data for seven Chinese cites at the individual level. The results show that rural migrants' earnings do not assimilate to their urban counterparts, although the situation improves gradually over time. This implies that institutional and policy barriers impede the assimilation process of rural migrants, which supports the call for further labour market reforms.

EfD Authors
Publication | 2 April 2021