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The education treatment effect on the non-farm income of Chinese western rural labors

Jiang Luan (Department Economics, Party School of CPC Tianjin Municipal Committee, Tianjin, China. and Economic & Management School, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China.)
Jian-cheng Chen (Economics & Management School, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China.)
Zhong-wei He (Economics & Management School, Beijing University of Agriculture, Beijing, China.)
Qiang Li (Economics & Management School, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China.)
Huanguang Qiu (Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.)

China Agricultural Economic Review

ISSN: 1756-137X

Article publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

Education plays an important role in improving Chinese rural laborers’ non-farm incomes. However, in Chinese western rural area, the level of return to education is very low due to the underdeveloped economy and the condition of the education system. For improving the schooling returns level, Chinese central government is paying great attention to the condition of education in the rural western area. To date, no research has examined what educational style is more favorable for improving western rural laborers’ non-farm incomes. To answer this question, the purpose of this paper is to compare the treatment effect of high school education and secondary vocational education on their non-farm incomes. That will provide significant evidence for the government to carry out educational policy.

Design/methodology/approach

Base on the Mincer model, several methods is used to estimate the average return to a year education on western rural labors’ non-farm income, including OLS, IV and Heckman tow-steps method, to accounting for the ability endogenous and self-selection bias. And the propensity score matching method is used in estimate the treatment effects of high school education and secondary vocational education.

Findings

The results from Mincer model showed that the schooling returns in Chinese western rural area were estimated to range from 2.7 to 3.9 percent, that were lower than the average levels in Chinese whole rural area that are estimated in the other recent studies. By using propensity score matching to roll out the heterogeneous bias, show that the treatment effect from high school education was higher than that from secondary vocational education, indicating that the secondary vocational education is better.

Originality/value

Studies concerning the causal relationship between schooling (high school education and secondary vocational education) and non-farm earnings in the western region of China remain very limited, even empty. This paper will make an update contribution to the literature in the area of education earnings in China.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

JEL Classification – I2, J3

The authors are grateful to the “the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities” and “The special fund of supporting Beijing development” (K2012003S) for their financial support.

Citation

Luan, J., Chen, J.-c., He, Z.-w., Li, Q. and Qiu, H. (2015), "The education treatment effect on the non-farm income of Chinese western rural labors", China Agricultural Economic Review, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 122-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/CAER-10-2013-0143

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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