Public Opinion towards Return Migration: A Survey Experiment of Chinese Netizens

Qiuqing Tai, Rory Truex

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


China has adopted preferential measures in hopes of luring back overseas talent, but what determines individual attitudes towards returning migrants and policies promoting return migration? This paper addresses this question using an original survey experiment of Chinese netizens. We argue that attitudes towards return migration are driven by two competing perceptions: on one hand, skilled migrants are widely thought to have beneficial effects on the local economy; on the other, domestic citizens may be wary of policies that offer elite returnees excessive benefits. The findings imply that the CCP may face a delicate trade-off between the economic benefits of return migration and the social costs of increasing inequality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-786
Number of pages17
JournalChina Quarterly
StatePublished - Sep 7 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • 1,000-Talents Plan
  • Return migration
  • inequity aversion
  • survey experiment


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