Liu, Jing, and 邢春冰. 2016. Migrate for education: An unintended effect of school district combination. China Economic Review, Sept. 40(9): 192–206.
A large number of village primary schools in rural China were closed since the 1990s. This paper studies the impact of the reduction in the number of primary schools on the migration decision of rural residents. First, using China Health and Nutrition Survey that contains information on community characteristics, we find that both the disappearance of village primary school and the increased distance to nearby primary school increased the migration probability of village residents. Second, using the 1% population survey in 2005 and prefecture level information, we find that the decline in the number of primary schools between 2000 and 2004 increased the migration probability of rural residents. Exploring the heterogeneous effects, we find that the migration of individuals with primary-school-age children is more sensitive to the relocation of primary schools, and that the effect is stronger for families with boys than those with girls. These results suggest that human capital investment motive and regional education policy play an important role in China's urbanization process.