Quality of migrant schools in China: evidence from a longitudinal study in Shanghai
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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.”
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