How Influence From Happiness Determinants Differ Across Three Migration Identities
Catilina, Eliane P
Urbanization and migration have been a very important issue in many developing countries in the past decade. While bolstering economic development, urbanization and migration have also led to many urban issues such as soaring housing price, traffic congestion, pollution and social segregation. China as one of the most prominent example, experienced a series of social, economic, and environmental transformations in the last decade. Migration and labor market processes in China cities are deeply influenced by an institution-based opportunity structure. The household registration system (inner passport) system, in particular, is interwoven with distribution of services and job opportunities. Most peasants who enter cities in response to increased demands for cheap labor force are not granted urban citizenship and are treated as “outsiders” to the urban society. During recent decade, a new trend of migration trend known as city-city migration emerges. City-city migrants are in many aspects significantly different from rural-urban migrants but suffer from similar discrimination in the job market and social welfare system. The experiences of these “temporary migrants” contrast with those of “permanent residents” who have access to many institutional resources. However, due to data limitations, few studies have systematically investigated this issue. To fill this gap, I use the Chinese General Social Survey 2010 to explore factors determining China urban residents’ happiness by structural equation modeling and then examine how effects of these “happiness” determinants vary across the three migration identities. Empirical findings tells us that two democracy-related attitudinal factors: institutional trust and passion for political participation influence happiness considerably but self-association and high-end consumption plays a weaker role. Stratifications defined by social status and birth cohort are prominent. Influence from attitudinal factors and social-economic variables on happiness exhibits significant variation across three migration identities. Additionally, incorporating assessment of income and social inequality into happiness will significantly change the “influence structure” of those “happiness” determinants. These results hint a new social order of stratification in China and provide some policy implications for building inclusive cities and achieving sustainable development.
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