With the large-scale rural labor exodus since the mid-1980s, the number of return migrants has been increasing in recent years. Prior studies mostly focus on the happiness of one-way migration from countryside to city. However, more and more migrant workers have returned to countryside from city nowadays and they have experienced two-way migration. Their happiness is likely to be shaped by two social reference points, both the countryside and the city. Based on the data collected by China Household Income Survey Project（CHIPS2013）in 2013, this study explores the impact of life experience of migration on the happiness of rural residents by employing the propensity score matching method（PSM）and instrumental variable to control the endogeneity. The main findings are as follows: First, compared with the rural stayers who have never migrated, migration experience significantly reduces the happiness of return migrants. Second, compared with the rural stayers, migrant workers are more likely to be influenced by urban environment as a new reference point, therefore suffering from a stronger " relative deprivation”. As a consequence, they tend to have a lower level of happiness. To improve the subjective well-being of the increasing scale of return migrants and to effectively explore their accumulated human capital suggest a new concern for policy-makers.
An Empirical Study on the Happiness of Return Migrants in China: The Potential Effect of Migration Experiences
Journal of Finance and Economics Vol. 45, Issue 03, pp. 20 - 33 (2019) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.jfe.2019.03.002
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Cite this article
Xu Hui, Liang Jie, Lai Desheng. An Empirical Study on the Happiness of Return Migrants in China: The Potential Effect of Migration Experiences[J]. Journal of Finance and Economics, 2019, 45(3): 20-33.