Hukou and Gaokao: The Effect of the Household Registration System and Regionally Biased University Admissions Policies on Labor Mobility and Human Capital Accumulation in China

Open Access
Stack, David Connor
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Russell Wade Cooper, Thesis Supervisor
  • Russell Paul Chuderewicz, Honors Advisor
  • China
  • hukou
  • gaokao
  • household registration
  • university admissions
  • labor mobility
  • human capital accumulation
  • misallocation
This article fills a gap in the literature by examining the effect of China’s hukou (household registration) system in the same context as the country’s regionally biased university admissions policies. A two-period model is constructed to represent the migration and education decisions available to Chinese from rural areas, which is then calibrated using data from China Family Panel Studies, a database administered by the Institute of Social Science Survey at Peking University. After parameters defining the distribution of ability and “cost of moving” are estimated, comparative statics are performed to predict the effects of possible reforms to these policies. The results indicate that these policies act as serious impediments to both labor mobility and the efficiency of human capital accumulation.