Publications

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, Between the Center and the People: Localized Citizenship in China, analyzes the functioning and determinants of sub-national citizenship in China. I examine 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. Using a theoretical framework derived from literature on international immigration regimes, I show that local governments strategically manipulate labor markets through membership rules for local citizenship defined by the household registration system, known as hukou. While international comparisons of immigration regimes, mostly limited to democracies, provide insight into political and economic determinants of migration policies, little work has been done within a non-democratic political environment or about how citizenship and inclusion operate sub-nationally.

Using an original nation-wide dataset of local immigration policies for 313 of China’s 333 cities; migration data; and more than 50 in-depth interviews with policy makers, bureaucrats, and business elites, I examine how local governments use domestic citizenship policies to protect state-owned interests and local budgets. I find that localized citizenship has become a marketized good, with greater economic competition through development and openness leading to more liberal policies and greater labor market fluidity. I further provide a novel test of the naturalization decision, identifying the determinants of demand for local citizenship through an original randomly-sampled experimental survey of over 600 migrant and rural residents in Beijing and Changsha. I show how access to various citizenship rights, including property, 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, and a Ford Foundation Young China Scholar grant.