Publications

"China’s Missing Children: Political Barriers to Citizenship through the Household Registration System." The China Quarterly. Forthcoming. Appendix.

“Disaggregating China’s Political Budget Cycles: ‘Righting’ the U.” World Development. 2019. 114:95-109.

China's Health Reform Update.” With Gordon G. Liu and Xuezhi Hong. 2017. Annual Review of Public Health. 38: 431-448.

“The Effect of the Reimbursement Policy on Residents’ Healthcare Utilization in China.” with Qin Zhou, Gordon G. Liu, and Yankun Sun. 2016. China Journal of Social Work. 9(1):38-61.

“Localized Citizenships: Household Registration as an Internal Citizenship Institution.” 2015. In Zhonghua Guo and Sujian Guo, eds. Theorizing Chinese Citizenship. Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield.

Book Project

My current book project, Local Citizenship in China: Development, Markets, and Inclusion, analyzes variation in access to sub-national citizenship in China. The book examines why some local governments in China pursue inclusive policies, providing migrant populations local citizenship with entitlements to government services and welfare, while others remain severely restrictive. Local development policies, whether outward-oriented, bottom-up, or central directed, create different incentives for local governments to strategically manipulate their labor market through membership rules for local citizenship, defined by the household registration system (hukou). While international comparisons of immigration regimes, mostly limited to democracies, provide insight into political and historical determinants of migration policies, little work has been done within a non-democratic political environment or about which forms of economic development increase incentives to naturalize which types of migrants.

The book manuscript draws on an original nation-wide dataset of local immigration policies for 313 of China’s 333 cities; migration and economic data; more than 60 in-depth interviews with policy makers, bureaucrats, and business elites. I argue that outward oriented development increases expansion of citizenship to high-skilled labor while socialist tendencies combined with bottom-up development policies increase integration of local rural populations. Economically disadvantaged regions dependent on “aid” transfers from the central government do not have sufficient incentives to liberalize citizenship and remain fiscally chauvinistic and closed.

I further explore citizenship variation by evaluating the role of individual agency, identifying the determinants of demand for local citizenship through an original, randomly-sampled experimental survey of over 800 migrant and rural residents in Beijing and Changsha. I show how access to various citizenship rights, including land, education, and pensions, differentially affects the naturalization decision, defining which populations are more willing to become local citizens.

The project is based on more than 30 months of fieldwork in 2012-2016 supported by the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays program, the Social Science Council, Ford Foundation Young China Scholar Fellowship, and the Hellman Fellowship.