DOI: 10.1111/twec.13490 ISSN:

Industry selection of regional migrants in China: The role of urban industry structures of home and destination

Xiangjun Ma, Larry Qiu, Hyelim Son
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Finance
  • Accounting


Regional migrants constitute a large share of the labour market in China and therefore have important implications for welfare, resource reallocation and economic development. However, few works exist in studying how regional migrants select industries in destination cities. This study examines the role of urban industry structures of migrants' origin and destination locations in determining the industry selection of regional migrant workers in China. We apply a variant of the Roy model to guide the empirical analysis and generate the following predictions: the industry selection of a cross‐province migrant is negatively affected by the industry strength of her home province and positively affected by that of her destination. Using data from a nationwide migrant survey in China, we verify the patterns of migrants' industry selection consistent with the predictions of the model. We also find that regional migration is more likely to occur between the origin and destination with more dissimilar industry structures.

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