Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Political Science, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Jacek Kugler

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Yi Feng

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2024 Yuzhu Zeng


Comparative Politics, Economic Development, International Relations, Migration, Political Demography, State Capacity

Subject Categories

Political Science


Migration is an important demographic phenomenon, especially domestic migration in an open society driven by opportunities in China after the 1970s. With the surge of internal migration, regional development disparities have widened. This study aims to examine migration flows within the subnational framework in China. Mainstream theories of migration argue that economic push/pull factors affect migration flow. I propose that state capacity and citizen registration policy are also essential components and make substantial differences in population migration. State capacity in this research is defined as the government’s capacity to extract resources via taxation to implement desired policy, revealing the effectiveness of government regardless of political ideology, government type, or economic performance. On the other hand, citizen registration policy is Hukou , a political tool for the government to control population movement and avoid overcrowding as rural to urban migration substantially increased coastal areas economic growth. I test the contribution of state capacity, measured with Relative Political Extraction (RPE), and create a citizen registration ( Hukou ) index, to migration flows while controlling for the economic and education factors between origins and destinations. Finally, I posit that in addition to traditional economic push-pull factors, both the citizen registration policy ( Hukou ) and provincial state capacity are essential components that significantly intermediate differences in migration across provinces in China.