2001 volume 33(2) pages 237 – 255
doi:10.1068/a3386

Cite as:
Ma Z, 2001, "Urban labour-force experience as a determinant of rural occupation change: evidence from recent urban - rural return migration in China" Environment and Planning A 33(2) 237 – 255

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Urban labour-force experience as a determinant of rural occupation change: evidence from recent urban - rural return migration in China

Zhongdong Ma

Received 15 June 2000; in revised form 31 October 2000

Abstract. An integrated approach to temporary migration in develoing countries is proposed by linking past urban labour-force experience to postreturn entrepreneurial activities. The central argument is that labour migration is a family strategy to acquire both physical and human capital for a future technological transformation. On the basis of an in-depth survey of returned migrants that was conducted in rural China, I focus on the explanation of return rural occupation change in a multivariate framework. I find that it is the improvement of the migrant's skills and entrepreneurial ability rather than their savings and remittances that strongly facilitates a return rural occupational change. The policy implication of the finding is to shift efforts from narrowing intersectoral wage differentials to improving rural learning and training opportunities.

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