No. 20 Brownbag: Parental Absence in Childhood and Migrants’ Crime: Evidence from an Individual Prisoner Data in China
Published:2018-12-19 Visits:


Topic: Parental Absence in Childhood and Migrants’ Crime: Evidence from an Individual Prisoner Data in China

Speaker:  Zhang Dandan, Associate Professor of the National School of Development, Peking University

Host: Yexin Zhou, Associate Professor of the School of Economics and Resource Management, BNU

Time:  12:00-13:30pm, December 27th, 2018

Venue:  Rm 1710, Hou-Zhu-Lou, Beijing Normal University


Introduction of speaker

Zhang Dandan is an Associate Professor of the National School of Development, Peking University, and Ph.D. Economics of Australian National University. Her researches most focus on the labour market of China, including the social and economic consequences cause by the rural-urban migration, floating population and the crimes, the problem of the left-behind children, inequality in education opportunity, wage gap and gender problem. In recent years, she deeply studied the decisive factors and the social consequences of the crimes of the floating population, and had carried out behavior experiments and survey in the prisoners. Her theses have been published on Economic Journal, Review of Income and Wealth, China Economic Quarterly and other international journals.



Economic transition, along with sheer scale of rural-to-urban migration, has induced dramatic changes in Chinese family structure over the past three decades. A large cohort of migrant children became left-behind in rural villages, and their experience in growing up without parental care brought about important social issues. This paper examines whether parental absence in childhood is associated with migrants’ criminality in China, by using a unique survey and experimental data on prison inmates and their comparable non-inmates. We find that parental absence in childhood will increase the propensity of a male to commit crimes, although different reasons (i.e., left-behind or other reasons) for parental absence may drive criminality through different channels. Generally, being left-behind arouses risk-loving behaviors and deteriorates moral values, while parental absence due to other reasons reduces opportunity for education and thus forms poor personality. In addition, we also find that fathers’ absence is more likely to induce son’s crime activities, while mothers’ absence may impose an impact through reducing education attainment. These findings provide useful insights for policy making to alleviate social costs related to the rural-to-urban migration.


How to sign up?

The CIID Lunch Seminar provides lunch for all signed up participants. Regulations are as follows:

1.  To sign up, scan the QR code below and follow the CIID official account. Leave a message as “No.20 LS-(Name)-(Department)” in our public platform. You will receive a Chinese reply “报名成功”if you are successfully signed up.


2. If you’ve already signed up but could NOT attend, please leave a massage as “Cancel-(Name)-(Department)” to avoid food waste.

3.  The deadline for sign-up and cancelation is 3 hours before the seminar (9:00 a.m.).

4.  Lunch will start 15 minutes before the seminar and will be provided according to the sign-up list.


China Institute of Innovation and Development, BNU


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