Social capital and educational inequality of migrant children in contemporary China: A multilevel mediation analysis

Gaoming Ma, Qiaobing Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


With the unprecedented migration in China, migrant children’ wellbeing becomes a great social problem. There is an emerging literature on the educational inequality of migrant children, but most studies focus on either the institutional barriers or the individual factors. This article argues for a holistic perspective, studying the mechanisms of hukou system and social capital through which children's migration affects their education. Based on the China Education Panel Survey and the random-intercept mediation model, the article shows that the educational outcome of migrant children is significantly worse than urban peers. Most of the negative effects are attributed to the hukou–related school quality and others are mediated by social capital within the family and the community. Surprisingly, the results show that the child–father interactions have a negative effect on children's education. The practical and policy implications for migrant children's wellbeing are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Educational inequality
  • Hukou system
  • Migrant children
  • Multilevel mediation
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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