The Unintended Long-term Consequences of Mao’s Mass Send-Down Movement: Marriage, Social Network, and Happiness
- The Unintended Long-term Consequences of Mao’s Mass Send-Down Movement: Marriage, Social Network, and Happiness
- Wang, Shun
- Send-down movement; Forced migration; Marriage; Social network; Happiness; Asia; China
- Issue Date
- Series/Report no.
- KDI Working Paper Series;WP15-03
- This paper uses the China General Social Survey (CGSS) 2003 to evaluate the long-term
consequences of a forced migration, the state’s “send-down” movement (shang shan xia xiang, or
up to the mountains, down to the villages) during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, on individuals’
nonmaterial well-being. The send-down program resettled over 16 million urban youths to the
countryside to carry out hard manual labor over the years 1968-1978. Most of them were allowed
to return to urban areas when the Cultural Revolution ended. To estimate the long-term impacts of
the send-down experience, we compare the outcomes of individuals with send-down experience
to individuals without send-down experience but had similar characteristics and family
backgrounds during the send-down period. We mainly conduct OLS estimates with a careful
sample selection, and check the robustness by propensity score matching. Contrary to studies
showing positive impacts of send-down experience on their material well-being, we find that
those who had the send-down experience have worse marriage outcome, lower-quality social
network, and lower level of happiness than non-send-downs. The negative effects of the forced
migration are robust against a detailed set of family backgrounds and personal characteristics.
Our study adds to the growing literature in economics that seeks to evaluate the impact of forced
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