Article

The role of intergenerational mobility in internal migration

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Abstract

This paper investigates the role of intergenerational mobility in the internal migration decisions of families. The geographic variation in intergenerational mobility suggests that if parents value their children's human capital accumulation and future outcomes, they would have an incentive to move to areas with a higher upward mobility. To identify the effect of intergenerational mobility on family migration, we first use an instrumental variable approach, based on a heteroskedastic covariance restriction, which addresses measurement-error and omitted-variable biases. Then, we apply the semiparametric maximum score estimation method to our empirical model, which yields a consistent estimator when families’ choice sets are partially observed. We find that highly educated families with school-aged children choose areas that favor upward mobility. Our welfare analysis indicates that a unit increase in the absolute upward mobility of a commuting zone is equivalent to approximately a $722 higher mean wage in the local labor market.

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... The spatial heterogeneity of intergenerational mobility implies spatial inequality in development opportunities for children, thus encouraging parents who focus on their children's human capital investment and future income to migrate to cities with higher levels of upward intergenerational mobility [29]. The heterogeneity in the level of intergenerational mobility between the origin residence and migration destination creates both the push factor and the pull factor in the migration process; that is, a high level of intergenerational mobility is a pull factor for inflow, while a low degree of intergenerational mobility is a push factor for emigration. ...
... (2) We combined the push factor, pull factor, and "emotional factor" from the perspectives of immigration and emigration to analyze the general law of migration, thus correcting the bias in the existing literature that is incurred by conflating or separating push factors and pull factors [29,38,39]. (3) We adopt various regression approaches, such as Logit, IV-probit, IV-2SLS and heteroskedasticity based IV, to empirically analyze the motivations and influencing factors of migration decision-making, which may contribute to research on migration in developing countries. ...
... The average age of the children is approximately 27.87 years and that of the fathers is approximately 54.27 years, which obeys the multiple conditions of "father-son co-residence", "adult children" and being active in the labor market at the same time [44]. Referring to the articles of Chetty et al. [37] and Kim and Lee [29], the city-level control variables include economic indicators, socio-cultural welfare indicators and city-level size covariates (Table 1). ...
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... This paper extends the literature examining the role of migration in intergenerational mobility (e.g., Aydemir et al., 2009;Dustmann, 2008). The existing studies have documented that the children of immigrants are more likely to achieve upward intergenerational mobility in developed countries (Feliciano and Lanuza, 2017;Oberdabernig and Schneebaum, 2017), and immigrants obtain this advantage in part by choosing to settle in locations that offer better prospects for their children (Abramitzky et al., 2021;Kim and Lee, 2019). However, under the special institutional constraints in China, most rural children were left behind in regional communities instead of migrating with their parents to urban cities. ...
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Previous studies have confirmed the short-term adverse effect of parental migration on children's human capital formation, but there has been limited focus on long-term improvement in socioeconomic status. Using the data from the 1991–2015 China Health and Nutrition Survey, this study investigates whether and how parental migration affects individual's upward intergenerational mobility. Results indicate that exposure to parental migration in childhood causes a lower probability of upward intergenerational mobility but a higher likelihood of downward intergenerational mobility. The reduction in educational attainment is a possible channel. Specifically, parental migrations impede individual's post-compulsory education attainment thereby inducing lower occupation status. Individual with higher education has a higher rate of upward intergenerational mobility as reflected in the interaction effect of education. Our findings highlight that left-behind children are more likely to be trapped in poverty, suggesting the need for preventive intervention to enhance equal opportunities in children's development.
... With the recent development in computational methods, maximum score estimation has been used in a wide range of empirical applications. For example, Mindruta et al. (2016) utilise it to study strategic alliances in the biopharmaceutical industry, and Kim and Lee (2019) apply it to families' internal migration choices. ...
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