Timing and duration of paternal migration and the educational attainment of left‐behind children: Evidence from rural China

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between the migration of men from rural China and the educational attainment of their left‐behind children. The importance of migratory timing and duration are addressed. Using survey data, the study found that compared with rural children of nonmigrant parents, rural children of migrant fathers have a lower probability of being enrolled in school. In addition, the relationship between migratory timing, duration, and school enrollment shows an interesting pattern; children whose fathers migrated when they were infants are more likely to be enrolled in school, but children whose fathers migrated before their birth or after they reached school age are less likely to be enrolled in school. Possible explanations for this pattern are provided.