As part of the British Department for International Development’s series reflecting on China’s development experience this workshop focused on internal migration and development. The meeting addressed three key questions:

  1. The impact of migration on development. How well are we able to assess the impact of migration on development in China, not only in terms of its immediate contribution to economic growth and poverty alleviation, but also in terms of its longer run implications for social stratification and social relations? Which social groups or regions have benefited most from migration and which have been negatively affected? What new challenges do these outcomes present for development policy?

  2. The role of policy. To the extent that internal migration has been a positive factor in China’s development over the last three decades, how have development policy and more specific policies towards migrants contributed to this? What might have been done differently?

  3. International relevance. Is China’s experience relevant to other countries, or are the outcomes we see largely attributable to demographic, institutional and other conditions that do not exist elsewhere and/or to the opportunities and constraints presented by broader economic and social policy? Can anything be learned from China’s experience about how to maximize the benefits and reduce the social costs of migration?

Publication Details

Migration and Development in China: 30 Years of Experience (meeting documents)
Holdaway, Jennifer
Publish Date
December 2008
Holdaway, Jennifer, Migration and Development in China: 30 Years of Experience (meeting documents) (, December 2008).