Macquarie University
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Social exclusion of rural-urban migrants in transitional China

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posted on 2022-03-28, 19:04 authored by Yeqing Huang
Most previous studies of China's transitional period have focused on the state's continuing role in restructuring the social classes, and how the former elite classes in state socialist China maintain their privileged position during the market transition. This study emphasizes the increasing importance of market forces in initiating and stabilizing social inequality, and the way that the market force affects institutional reforms in transitional China. -- Rural-urban migrants in China are the subject of this research project. One of the most important groups of contributors to China's recent three decades of economic growth, they are confronted with multi-dimensional social exclusion in urban society. Using both qualitative and quantitative data, the project examines five aspects of rural-urban migrants' social exclusion: the household registration system (hukou), employment opportunities, welfare entitlements, identity and settlement. The aspects of employment, welfare, identity and settlement have been highly associated with the hukou system. The project examines how those four aspects are detaching from the hukou system, thus demonstrating the increasing importance of market forces in the social exclusion of rural-urban migrants during this transitional period. -- This study presents two major findings. First, the trends of decentralization and marketization are important forces reforming the hukou and welfare systems. As local governments are more market- and economy-driven, the implementation of public policy centres on local economic interests. This is the major reason for the institutional exclusion of rural-urban migrants from welfare system. Second, market forces play an increasingly important role in resource redistribution, which was formerly the responsibility of government. These findings call for increasing reform to centralised public policy, with the state to take major responsibility in coordinating and enforcing a united labour market and social welfare system.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Article 1: The continuity and changes of the hukou system since the 1990s: a critical review -- Article 2: Hukou status and social exclusion of rural-urban migrants in transitional China -- Article 3: Dynamic changes of labour market and employment opportunities of migrant workers in transitional China: evidence from three metropolises -- Ariticle 4: Welfare program participation of rural migrants in contemporary China: a social exclusion perspective -- Article 5: Boundaries, exclusion and identity construction: experiences of rural migrants in urban China -- Article 6: Stay or return? Settlement intention and exclusion mechanism of rural migrants in the metropolises of China -- Conclusion.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Economics, Dept. of Marketing and Management

Department, Centre or School

Dept. of Marketing and Management.

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Fei Guo

Additional Supervisor 1

Yiming Tang Tang


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Yeqing Huang 2011.






xvii, 309 p. ill. (some col.)

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