The Impact of Education on Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Rural China (教育对农村劳动力职业代际流动的影响)

WANG Weidong, BAI Yunli*, LUO Renfu, ZHANG Linxiu

Journal Title: Economic Survey (经济经纬)

Volume/Issue/Page: Volume 37, Issue 5, 2020

Published Time: September 2020


This paper assesses the impact of education on intergenerational occupational mobility within rural China by using a nationally representative sample. The empirical results suggest four crucial relationships. Firstly, education promotes upward mobility among rural laborers and reduces both downward mobility and occupational inheritance. Secondly, education becomes less important for promoting upward mobility over time. Thirdly, increasing years of schooling at any educational level will promote the upward intergenerational occupational mobility and hinder both downward mobility and occupational inheritance. Finally, higher education consistently plays the most vital role in promoting upward mobility regardless of the birth cohorts. However, the influence of high school on upward mobility among individuals born after 1985 is less than that who were born before 1985. It is necessary to increase investment in rural education, improve the accessibility of education and the quality of education for rural residents, and increase the opportunities for rural children to enter tertiary education institutions.

Key words: Intergenerational Occupational Mobility; Education; Social Justice; Rural Labor

Corresponding author: Yunli Bai,

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