In this seminar, Xinjie Shi will first have an overview of his PhD thesis which is comprised of five research papers focusing on some Chinese socio-economic development issues. He will then mainly discuss one of the papers which examines the health consequences of rural-urban migration in China. Using panel data from a survey conducted by the Research Centre for Rural Economy at the Ministry of Agriculture, this paper examines the impacts of rural-urban migration on the health status of migrants in China. Following the framework of Black et al. (2015), I find support for the “healthy migrant hypothesis”—the positive selection based on individual health into migration — and overcome this selection problem by adopting an IV strategy, using dialect proximity as an instrumental variable to evaluate the causal effects of rural-urban migration on individual health status. The results indicate that rural-urban migration worsens health, and worsens more for individuals who migrate continuously and stay in cities for a longer period. The two main mechanisms identified are (i) an income effect that makes migration beneficial for health, and (ii) an industry effect that is negatively associated with health due to the exposure to dangerous working environments. These main findings are reinforced through a series of robustness checks.
Xinjie Shi is a PhD candidate at Crawford School of Public Policy. His previous research included urbanization and land system reform in China. Current research interests are in agricultural economics and development economics, with a focus on Chinese rural development, migration, and income inequality.