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Journal Articles China Economic Review Year : 2016

Remittances and relative concerns in rural China


The paper investigates the impact of remittances on the relative concerns of households in rural China. Using the Rural to Urban Migration in China (RUMiC) dataset we estimate a series of subjective well-being functions to simultaneously explore relative concerns with respect to income and remittances. Our results show that although rural households experience substantial welfare loss due to income comparisons, they gain well-being by comparing their remittances with those received by their reference group. In other words, we find evidence of a “status effect” with respect to income and of a “signal effect” of similar magnitude with respect to remittances. This finding is robust to various specifications, alternative reference group definitions, controls for the endogeneity of remittances and selective migration, as well as the use of migrants' net contribution to household income.

Dates and versions

hal-01447860 , version 1 (27-01-2017)



Alpaslan Akay, Olivier Bargain, Corrado Giulietti, Juan D. Robalino, Klaus F. Zimmermann. Remittances and relative concerns in rural China. China Economic Review, 2016, Special Issue on Human Capital, Labor Markets, and Migration, 37, pp.191--207. ⟨10.1016/j.chieco.2015.12.006⟩. ⟨hal-01447860⟩
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