Quality of migrant schools in China: evidence from a longitudinal study in Shanghai
As spaces in public schools are limited, a substantial number of migrant children living in Chinese cities but without local hukou are enrolled in private migrant schools. This paper studies the quality of migrant schools using data collected in Shanghai in 2010 and 2012. Although students in migrant schools perform considerably worse than their counterparts in public schools, the test score difference in mathematics has almost been halved between 2010 and 2012, due to increased financial subsidy from the government. We rule out alternative explanations for the convergence in test scores. We also conduct a falsification test and find no relative changes in the performance of migrant school students based on a follow-up survey of a new cohort of students in 2015 and 2016, a period with no changes in financial subsidies to migrant schools.
KeywordsRural-to-urban migration Hukou Migrant school School quality Financial subsidy
JEL ClassificationI21 I22 I28
The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions. We thank Jimmy Chan and seminar participants at Peking University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lingnan University, and the 8th Asian Conference on Applied Eonomics/Econometrics for their valuable comments. All errors are our own.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Feng’s research is supported by the Program for Innovative Research Team of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (2014110310), the National Science Foundation of China (70803029), The National Science Foundation for distinguished young scholars (project number: 71425005), the Chang Jiang Scholars Program (project number: T2012069), and the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-12-0903) sponsored by the Ministry of Education of China. Chen’s research is supported by the National Science Foundation of China (71303149), the Program for Innovative Research Team of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (2014110310), and the Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation (Lu Jiaxian and Gao Wenying Special Fundation). We also acknowledge partial financial support from the CUHK International Development Fund and the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) on a project “Migration with and without children: Causes and Economic, Social and Psychological Consequences.”
- Chan KW, Buckingham W (2008) Is China abolishing the hukou system?. China Q 195(1):582–605Google Scholar
- Chen YP, Liang Z (2009) Educational attainment of migrant children: the forgotten story of China’s urbanization. Education and Reform in China, edited by Emily Hannum and Albert Park:117–130Google Scholar
- Coleman JS, Campbell EQ, Hobson CJ, McPartland J, Mood AM, Weinfeld FD, York RL (1966) Equality of educational opportunity Washington DC: US Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
- Han J (2004) Survey report on the state of compulsory education among migrant children in Beijing. Chin Educ Soc (in Chinese) 37(5):29–55Google Scholar
- Hanushek EA (1986) The economics of schooling: production and efficiency in public schools. J Econ Lit 24(3):1141–1177Google Scholar
- Hanushek EA (2008) Education production functions. In: Durlauf SN, Blume LE (eds) The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, BasingstokeGoogle Scholar
- Lai F, Sadoulet E, De Janvry A (2011) The contributions of school quality and teacher qualifications to student performance evidence from a natural experiment in Beijing middle schools. J Hum Resour 46(1):123–153Google Scholar
- Lu S, Zhang S (2001) Education of migrant children: report from survey of migrant schools in Beijing. Strateg Manag (in Chinese) 4:95–108Google Scholar
- NBS (2012) Tabulation on the 2010 population census of Peoples Republic of China (Book I, Book II, Book III). compiled by Population Census Office under the State Council, Department of Population and Employment Statistics, National Bureau of Statistics, ChinaGoogle Scholar
- Tang X (2008) The compulsory education of migrant children in Shanghai: status, problems and policies. Internal Report, Shanghai Bureau of Education (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Zhou H (2006) Discussion and policy implication of psychological status of migrant children. Popul. Econ. (in Chinese) 1:48–54Google Scholar