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Social Capital and Housing for Temporary Migrants in Urban China

Evidence from a Twelve-City Migrant Survey

Zhilin Liu and Ran Tao

Julho 2013, inglês

Rural-urban migration and housing for low-income migrants have attracted worldwide attention from both scholars and policy makers. In China, empirical studies have revealed tremendous exclusion of temporary migrants in the urban housing system. Migrant workers have limited housing choices and often live in substandard housing in informal settlements such as urban villages. However, most studies have highlighted constraints by formal institutions such as the hukou system. Drawing from the international literature on social capital and housing for the urban poor, this paper adopts the sociological theory of social capital to investigate the role of informal social networks in temporary migrants’ housing experience in urban China. Using data from a twelve-city migrant survey conducted in 2009, we first develop a measure of migrants’ social capital that captures informal social networks and social interaction of rural migrants in the neighborhood and the city of residence. Statistical analysis is employed to test the extent to which size and characteristics of social ties at different scale and locations determine both migrants’ use of housing information channels and access to formal urban housing market.

Keywords: Social Capital, Social Network, Temporary Migrant, Housing, Urban China, Development, Urban, Suburban, Housing