This paper uses data from the 2002 Chinese Household Income Project (CHIP) to test three main hypotheses: (1) that parental human capital has a positive impact on the returns to education for both urban and migrant workers in Chinese cities, (2) that there is a gap in returns to education between these two groups which productivity related characteristics cannot fully explain, and (3) that parental human capital has a stronger impact on migrant workers. In this study, we also decompose the wage differentials between urban residents, migrant workers with an urban Hukou, and migrant workers with a rural Hukou. The empirical results show that parental education has a positive impact on wages, that urban workers have higher returns to own education, and that this wage gap between urban and migrant workers is most likely due to institutional- instead of social- discrimination against migrants.


Moledina, Amyaz


Business Economics


Education Economics


Returns to education, China, Migrant workers, Parental human capital, Parental education, Wages

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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