China Research Workshop 中国研究讲座 Lunch Discussion RSVP
Friday, March 2, 2018 | 12:00-1:30 p.m. | GPS 3106 (Large conference Room on bottom level)

"Local Citizenship Regimes in China: Economic Development and the Household Registration System"

Presenter: Samantha Addie Vortherms, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Political Science, UC Irvine

Why do governments choose to integrate some populations into the local citizenry while excluding others? In this chapter, I analyze the correlates of China's domestic immigration regimes' degree of exclusivity. Using an original nation-wide database of local-citizenship membership regulations, population data, and data on the state-owned economy, I analyze the relative impact of political and economic determinants of domestic immigration regulations. Based on hypotheses derived from twenty-four interviews with policy makers, bureaucrats, and business elites as well as the existing literature, I argue that municipalities act strategically, balancing central pressures to reform, which vary by city location, and local protectionism to shelter the state-owned economy and local budget. Because state-owned enterprises benefit disproportionately from more conservative domestic migration policies, municipalities maintain stricter barriers to entry when state-owned enterprises dominate the local economy. Where private and foreign businesses flourish in a more market-based environment, immigration regulations are relaxed. These findings suggest that political pressure to reform only succeeds when economic conditions are sufficiently open.


CRW provides a forum for the presentation of original research by China scholars from around the country in social science and humanities, sponsored by the Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China. To view archive and upcoming workshops list, visit:

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