IZA DP No. 8842: Do Negative Native-Place Stereotypes Lead to Discriminatory Wage Penalties in China's Migrant Labor Markets?
published in Handbook on Migration, Identity and Well-Being in China (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015).
China's linguistic and geographic diversity leads many Chinese individuals to identify themselves and others not simply as Chinese, but rather by their native place and provincial origin. Negative personality traits are often attributed to people from specific areas. People from Henan, in particular, appear to be singled out as possessing a host of negative traits. Such prejudice does not necessarily lead to wage discrimination. Whether or not it does depends on the nature of the local labor markets. This chapter uses data from the 2008 and 2009 migrant surveys of the Rural-Urban Migration in China Project (RUMiC) to explore whether native-place wage discrimination affects migrant workers in China's urban labor markets. We analyze the question of wage discrimination among migrants by estimating wage equations for men and women, controlling for human capital characteristics, province of origin, and destination city. Of key interest here are the variables representing provinces of origin. We find no systemic differences by province of origin in the hourly wages of male and female migrants. However, in a few specific cases, we find that migrants from a particular province earn significantly less than those from local areas. Male migrants from Henan in Shanghai are paid much less than their fellow migrants from Anhui. In the Jiangsu cities of Nanjing and Wuxi, female migrants from nearby Anhui are paid much less than intra-provincial Jiangsu migrants.