The recent rise of return migrants in rural China has resulted in much debate about whether the migration experience increases villagers' likelihood of becoming self-employed in non-farm jobs. Using data from a rural household survey conducted in 2010 (N=2,276), we find that returnees are significantly more likely to become self-employed than those with no migration experience. The overall result remains the same while taking human capital, political capital, social capital, as well as demographic background into account, and controlling for family conditions between family wealth and the number of family laborers. We also show that while the positive effect of family wealth on self-employment is stronger among returnees than among non-migrants, the negative effect of the number of family laborers on self-employment is not significant among returnees. This suggests that returnees are better able to mobilize family support on the one hand and minimize the resources dilution problem on the other. Taken together, this article contributes to the current literature by highlighting the interaction of migration and family conditions in shaping how returnees affect their natal communities in rural China.


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pp. 59-77
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