Did send-down experience benefit youth? A reevaluation of the social consequences of forced urban-rural migration during China's Cultural Revolution

Yu Xie, Yang Jiang, Emily Greenman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

During China's Cultural Revolution, a large proportion of urban youth were forced to go to the countryside as a result of the state's "send-down" policy. Past research has been ambivalent about the long-term social consequences for the Chinese youth who experienced send-down. Some scholars have suggested that the send-down experience may have yielded beneficial effects. To test this claim, we analyze data from the Survey of Family Life in Urban China, which we conducted in three large cities in 1999. Questions available in this data set allow us to ascertain the send-down experience of both the respondent and a sibling and educational attainment at the times of send-down and return. Our analyses of the new data show that the send-down experience does not seem to have benefited the affected Chinese youth. Differences in social outcomes between those who experienced send-down and those who did not are either non-existent or spurious due to other social processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-700
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Science Research
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • Cultural revolution
  • Forced Migration
  • Life course
  • Methods
  • Send-down
  • Stratification in China

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