Ai Yue, Sean Sylvia, Yu Bai, Yaojiang Shi, Renfu Luo and Scott Rozelle
Nearly a quarter of all children under the age of two in China are left behind in the countryside as parents migrate to urban areas for work. We use a longitu- dinal survey following young children and their caregivers from 6 to 30 months of age to estimate the e↵ects of maternal migration on development, health, and nutritional outcomes in the critical first stages of life.We find significant nega- tive e↵ects on cognitive development and indicators of dietary quality. Taken together with research showing long-term consequences of early life insults, our results imply that, although the reallocation of labor from rural to urban areas has been a key driver of China’s prosperity in recent decades, it may entail a significant human capital cost for the next generation.
Early Childhood Development, Migration, Left-behind Children,China