The paper studies the dynamic change of the migrant labor market in China from 2002 to 2007 using two comparable data sets. Our focus is on the rural-urban migration decision, the wage structure of migrants, the urban labor market segmentation between migrants and urban natives, and the changes of these aspects from 2002 to 2007. We find that prior migration experience is a key factor for the migration decision of rural household members, and its importance keeps increasing from 2002 to 2007. Our results show that there is a significant increase in wages among both migrants and urban natives over this 5-year period, but migrants have enjoyed faster wage growth, and most of the increase of wages among migrants can be attributed to the increase of returns to their characteristics. We also find evidence suggesting convergence of urban labor markets for migrants and for urban natives during this 5-year period.
rural-urban migration labor market wage structure migration decision segmentation China