UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Xiaoman Luo, University of California, Davis

Does Parental Out-migration Benefit Left-behind Children’s Schooling Outcomes? — Evidence from Rural China

Date and Location

Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
Online Meeting, Zoom

https://areucdavis.zoom.us/j/99911081742

Abstract

In this paper I investigate how parental out-migration affects the schooling
outcomes of children left behind in rural China. In particular, I consider
three important and widely-studied mechanisms that migration could affect

left-behind children’s school performance: direct effect through parental ac-
companiment, and indirect effect through child’s study time, and education

spending.The major contribution of this paper is to establish a theoretical
framework to clarify different pathways involved in the effect of parental
migration on child’s schooling performance, and to empirically quantify the
importance of these pathways on child schooling in rural China. Applying
the model on a household-level data from 9 Provinces, I find that parental

migration has significant negative total effect on left-behind children’s lan-
guage scores and math scores, and their language scores are more negatively

affected. Further decomposing the total effect into the three channels, I find
that the direct effect of migration through parental accompaniment is largely
negative, and the indirect effects through study time and income are generally
negative as well, but are smaller than the direct effect. Subgroup analysis by

child’s gender shows consistent findings, but it calls attention to severe un-
derinvestment in left-behind girls’ education in rural China. 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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