Rural-urban migrants: a driving force for growth

Xiaodong Gong, Sherry Kong, Shi Li, Xin Meng

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter


    A spontaneous transfer of rural labour from agriculture to secondary and tertiary
    industries accompanies economic growth in most countries. It is often believed
    that this movement is pushed partly by the increase of surplus labour in the
    agricultural sector and, more importantly, pulled by higher returns to labour
    in urban manufacturing and service industries. Through this process, modern
    sectors with high productivity expand and engage more labour to move into
    modern sectors, leading to an improvement in overall productivity, which in
    turn gives an impetus to economic growth.
    The world has witnessed China’s extraordinary pace of economic change
    in the past three decades. Underlying China’s reforms are the economic incentives and possibilities made available by a wide range of institutional changes
    that stimulated rapid economic growth. Since the 1990s, a most extraordinary
    phenomenon in China is the large-scale demographic movement induced by
    the relaxation of regulations that restricted labour mobility since the early years
    of the communist regime. While the exact size of the migrant population is
    debatable, official estimates suggest the number of rural migrant workers in
    2005 was about 126 million (NBS 2006)—amounting to the largest peace-time
    movement of people in world history.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationChina's Dilemma: Economic Growth, the Environment and Climate Change
    EditorsLigang Song, Wing Thye Woo
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    PublisherANU E Press
    Number of pages43
    ISBN (Print)9781921536038
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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