Migration and Remittances in Rural China

Zai Liang, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Jiejin Li, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Zhongdong Ma, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

China’s monumental migration volume has drawn world-wide attention. In this paper, we focus on remittances in a poor province of rural China. We draw on data collected in Guizhou province in southwestern China from the 2003 China Rural Household Survey. We estimated multilevel models of amount of remittances among migrants from Guizhou province and take into account characteristics at the individuals, household, as well as village level. As we expected, migrants with high earnings and long migration durations tend to remit larger amounts compared to migrants with lower earnings and shorter durations. Contrary to our prediction, migrants’ remittance behavior is not responsive to a household’s relative economic standing (as measured by household income) in the village. Most importantly, we find strong evidence of a “culture of remittances” impact in these villages. Namely, migrants who are from villages with high average remittance norms are likely to remit a larger amount than otherwise.

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Presented in Session 105: Global Patterns of Internal Migration