Bloomberg Businessweek

China Goes In for Labor Mobility

• Reforms to China’s residency system will drive urbanization in the country’s interior

In China, where you’re born can make all the difference. Since its introduction six decades ago, the nation’s residency permit, known as the hukou, has determined where people can live, where they can work, and where their children go to school; it can even influence whom they choose to marry.

At its inception in 1958, the hukou provided China’s policymakers with a means to regulate the movement of people to further national objectives. The system supported the twin goals of farm collectivization and rapid industrialization during the Great Leap Forward. Yet today there’s a growing consensus that the maroon-covered documents may be holding the country back. In addition to helping institutionalize a yawning gap

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