Using the 2014 China Migrants Dynamic Survey, we analyze rural-urban migrant workers’ destination choices after the global financial crisis, with an emphasis on jobs, amenities, and local spillovers. By using an equilibrium-sorting model, this paper disentangles local spillovers from local attributes in the estimation process. We employ both an artificial instrumental variable and the provincial highway passenger flow in 1979 to tackle the endogeneity issue. After controlling for the network effects of migrants from the same origin, we found a separate and strong preference for co-locating with a large population of migrants, regardless of origin. The results remain robust when we take into account labor supply-driven migration, spatial autocorrelation between provinces, different industry definitions, and regional differences within provinces. Our results imply that due to institutional barriers, the rural migrant community will still be a very important factor in the foreseeable future. In addition, as the ongoing industrial upgrading and transfer policies in China may lead to a westward movement of rural-urban migrants, the movement will be expedited when the older, less-educated, or lower-income migrants relocate.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Rural-urban migration in China, destination choice, labor market, amenities, local spillovers
JEL Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity (jel J24), Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers (jel J61), Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics (jel R23)
Persistent URL
Journal Journal of Regional Science
Wang, Z, & Chen, L. (2019). Destination Choice of Chinese Rural-Urban Migrant Workers: Jobs, Amenities and Local Spillovers. Journal of Regional Science. Retrieved from