UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Xiaoman Luo, University of California, Davis

How Does Parental Out-migration Affect Left-behind Children’s Schooling Outcomes? – Effect Sizes and Mechanisms

Date and Location

Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
933 988 20491, online Zoom


In this paper I investigate how parental out-migration affects the schooling outcomes of children left behind in rural China. I establish a theoretical framework to study three important and widely-studied mechanisms that migration could affect left-behind children’s school performance: direct effect through parental accompaniment, and indirect effects through child’s study time, and education spending. Motivated by the solution of the model, I apply the structural equation modeling to estimate the influence through different mechanisms. To handle the endogeneity caused by both confounder and sample selection, I propose an identification strategy based on instrumental variables, rank condition, and Heckman correction. Applying the model on household-level survey data from 9 provinces, I find that the effects through all mechanisms are significantly negative, though the indirect effects are smaller. The subgroup analysis by child’s gender and birth order shows that girls and older siblings suffer more from underinvestment in education. The results from this paper can help policymakers design and implement education policy in rural China by accounting for the specific barriers to education presented by the high degree of parental migration.

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