Evaluating the Effectiveness of the 2014 Chinese Hukou Reform

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Anthony Underwood




The Household Registration System of China, commonly known as the hukou system, has been an influential institution that controls internal migration. This paper investigates the effectiveness of the 2014 hukou reform in promoting urban settlement of rural population and hukou urbanization, using a panel data of 293 prefectural-level cities from 2012 to 2016. The findings suggest that the hukou reform has positively affected the hukou urbanization rate and that this effect is larger in smaller cities. However, further investigation indicates that the hukou urbanization rate is an imperfect measure of hukou urbanization. As a result, the Chinese government is likely to exaggerate the effectiveness of the hukou reform, since the hukou urbanization rate is commonly used to evaluate the success of the hukou reform. These results further suggest that in order to make sure the hukou reform is carried out by the local government in the way intended by the reform agenda, the central government of China may need to establish a better standard to determine the success of future hukou reform.

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