Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 1007–1034

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

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-016-0629-5

Cite this article as:
Chen, Y. & Feng, S. J Popul Econ (2017) 30: 1007. doi:10.1007/s00148-016-0629-5


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.


Rural-to-urban migration Hukou Migrant school School quality Financial subsidy 

JEL Classification

I21 I22 I28 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsShanghai University of Finance and EconomicsShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Institute for Economic and Social ResearchJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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