Rural Labor Flows in China

Rural Labor Flows in China

(RPPS 42)

Loraine A. West, ed., Yaohui Zhao, ed.

Publication date: 2000
ISBN-13 (print): 978-1-55729-067-0
ISBN-10 (print): 1-55729-067-9

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Each essay in this collection poses one or more questions critical to understanding the broad topic of rural labor migration in China, situates it within the theoretical literature on the subject, and comes to important conclusions.

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The essays in this collection pose questions critical to understanding the broad topic of rural labor migration in China, situates it within the theoretical literature on the subject, and comes to important conclusions. The authors draw not just on their own research, but also on other survey research and empirical studies done in China on the subject over the past decade. The volume is invaluable to anyone seeking to understand the phenomenon of China's internal migration and also to people doing research on labor flows in other developing countries.

Nansheng Bai is Research Fellow at the Research Center for the Rural Economy, Ministry of Agriculture.
Delia Davin is Head of the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Leeds.
Ying Du is Head of the Department of Policy, Reform and Law, Ministry of Agriculture.
Denise Hare is Associate Professor of Economics, Reed College, Portland, Oregon.
Xiaodong Ma is Associate Professor, Institute for Population Research, Fudan University.
Hein Mallee is Program Officer in Community and Resource Development, Ford Foundation, Beijing.
Xin Meng is Fellow, Department of Economics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, the Australian National University.
Kenneth D. Roberts is Professor, Department of Economics and Business, Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas.
Lina Song is Senior Lecturer, Institute of Contemporary China Studies, University of Nottingham.
Shen Tan is Editor of Sociology Studies, Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Loraine A. West is Senior Statistician in the International Programs Center, U.S. Bureau of the Census.
Shukai Zhao is Senior Research Fellow and division chief in the Development Research Center of the State Council.
Yaohui Zhao is Associate Professor, China Center for Economic Research, Beijing University.


Pages: 332
Language: English
Publisher: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
OCLC: 42863218

Loraine A. West, ed.

Loraine A. West is currently a manager at the U.S. Bureau of the Census.


Yaohui Zhao, ed.

Yaohui Zhao is professor of economics at the China Center for Economic Research of Peking University.


B.A. Peking University, M.A. Peking University, Ph.D. University of Chicago

Rural Labor Flows in China (RPPS 42)

Foreword – vii
Stephen J. McGurk

Introduction –1
Loraine A. West

  1. 1. Rural-to-Urban Labor Migration in China: The Past and the Present – 15
        Yaohui Zhao
  2. 2. Agricultural Labor and Rural Population Mobility: Some Observations – 34
        Hein Mallee
  3. 3. Rural Labor Migration in Contemporary China·. An Analysis of Its Features and the Macro Context – 67
        Ying Du
  4. 4. Diversification of Household Production in Rural China: Determinants and Outcomes – 101
        Lina Song
  5. 5. The Effect of Labor Migration on Agriculture: An Empirical Study – 129
        Nansheng Bai
  6. 6. Labor Migration as a Rural Development Strategy: A View from the Migration Origin –148
        Denise Hare and Shukai Zhao
  7. 7. Chinese Labor Migration: Insights from Mexican Undocumented Migration to the United States –179
        Kenneth D. Roberts
  8. 8. Organizational Characteristics of Rural Labor Mobility in China – 231
        Zhao Shukai
  9. 9. Regional Wage Gap, Information Flow, and Rural-Urban Migration – 251
        Xin Meng
  10. 10. Migrants and the Media: Concerns about Rural Migration in the Chinese Press – 278
        Delia Davin
  11. 11. The Relationship between Foreign Enterprises, Local Governments, and Women Migrant Workers in the Pearl River Delta – 292
        Shen Tan
  12. 12. "Insider" and "Outsider" Community Strategies toward Migrant Workers – 310
        Xiaodong Ma
  14. Contributors – 333


"The Ford Foundation has sponsored a number of research projects to investigate the characteristics of the migrant workers and the conditions they face. This edited book contains a dozen papers from these projects that were presented at a conference in Beijing in 1996.... The quality of their chapters is almost uniformly high." ~Jonathan Unger, The Australian National University, in The China Journal, no. 45 (January 2001): 171–172 (

"Although books and articles on internal migration in China have proliferated recently, this volume provides an exceptionally fine collection of essays that contain information and data useful for historical and comparative analyses in future case studies. Rural Labor Flows in China is strongly recommended for graduate students, researchers, and policy makers interested in labor issues in China." ~Young-Jin Choi, PhD Candidate at the University of Hawai'i, in China Review International 8, no. 2 (Fall 2001): 578-580 (

“The most significant aspect of this book is that it offers intensive empirical data collected from both origin and destination places of migrants at macro and micro contexts […] Another strength is that this volume affords some penetrating views that most former research on Chinese internal migration has ignored.” ~Feng Zhang, University of British Columbia, in Pacific Affairs 74, no. 3 (Autumn 2001): 420-422 (