Institute for Economic and Social Research


Journal of Development Economics


Can information influence the social insurance participation decision of China's rural migrants?

Journal of Development Economics

John Giles, Xin Meng, Sen Xue, Guochang Zhao


This paper uses a randomized information intervention to shed light on whether poor understanding of social insurance, both the process of enrolling and costs and benefits, drives the relatively low rates of participation in urban health insurance and pension programs among China's rural-urban migrants. Among workers without a contract, the information intervention has a strong positive effect on participation in health insurance and, among younger age groups, in pension programs. Migrants are responsive to price: in cities where the premia are low relative to earnings, information induces health insurance participation, while declines are observed in cities with high relative premia.


Migration; Social insurance; Information; Randomised controlled trial

JEL classification          

H53; H55; J46; J61; O15; O17; O53; P35



Copyright © 2019 Institute for Economic and Social Research ICP record No.: Yue ICP Bei No. 12087612