The Unintended Long-term Consequences of Mao’s Mass Send-Down Movement: Marriage, Social Network, and Happiness

Title
The Unintended Long-term Consequences of Mao’s Mass Send-Down Movement: Marriage, Social Network, and Happiness
Authors
Wang, Shun
Keywords
Send-down movement; Forced migration; Marriage; Social network; Happiness; Asia; China
Issue Date
2015-07
Series/Report no.
KDI Working Paper Series;WP15-03
Abstract
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 migration.
URI
http://archives.kdischool.ac.kr/handle/11125/17408
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