Social identity and labor market outcomes of internal migrant workers

Shu Cai, Klaus F. Zimmermann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Previous research on internal mobility has neglected the role of local identity contrary to studies analyzing international migration. Examining social identity and labor market outcomes in China, the country with the largest internal mobility in the world, closes the gap. Instrumental variable estimation and careful robustness checks suggest that identifying as local associates with higher migrants’ hourly wages and lower hours worked, although monthly earnings seem to remain largely unchanged. Migrants with strong local identity are more likely to use local networks in job search, and to obtain jobs with higher average wages and lower average hours worked, suggesting the value of integration policies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104676
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024

JEL classifications

  • j22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
  • j31 - "Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials"
  • j61 - "Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers"
  • z13 - Economic Sociology


  • Assimilation
  • China's great migration
  • Internal mobility
  • Labor market
  • Migration
  • Social identity


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