In recent years, the total number of rural migrant workers has been growing. By the end of 2019, this number has reached 290.8 million. However, there is a big gap between rural migrant workers and urban workers in terms of employment, income, public services and social security until now, especially wage earnings, which has received much attention. Many studies fully explore the determinants of the wage earnings of rural migrant workers from the perspectives of education, vocational training, household registration policy, city size, social capital and social networks, while few studies focus on the impact of sociability.
Based on the data from the Chinese Family Panel Studies（CFPS）in 2010 and 2014, this paper constructs an indicator to evaluate the sociability of workers from the two sub-dimensions of language expression and interpersonal relationship, and explores the effect of sociability on the wage earnings of rural migrant workers. Then, it uses the regression of one-period lagged variable and the instrumental variable method to deal with the possible endogeneity. After that, the results are still robust.
The results indicate that: （1）Sociability has a significant positive effect on the wage earnings of rural migrant workers, and obviously there are gender and intergenerational differences in the impact of two sub-indicators.（2）There is a significant “migration effect” that the impact of sociability on wages would be weaker while the migration distance is increasing.（3）With the increase of wage earnings quantile, the impact of sociability becomes more significant.（4）In terms of mechanism, sociability mainly affects the wage earnings of rural migrant workers through four channels: social capital effect, career development effect, labor contract effect and information advantage effect. It is recommended that the relevant policies on the development of rural human capital should not only focus on the traditional human capital, such as education and training, but also strengthen the cultivation of sociability and other non-cognitive abilities, especially rural children.
The marginal contributions of this research are that: （1）The perspective is more focused. This paper only investigates the impact of sociability（not non-cognitive abilities）, while focusing on rural migrant workers.（2）Considering the characteristics of migration, this paper examines the “migration effect” of sociability returns.（3）In terms of mechanism, this paper puts forward the labor contract effect and the information advantage effect, which supplements the related research.