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The Economic Impact and Policy Responses to the Environment (2009)

CHEN Chuanbo, Institute for Advanced Study on Sustainable Development, Renmin University (Small Grant 2009)
Rural-urban migrants are exposed to a variety of environmental health risks as a result of their concentration in dangerous industries and their poor living conditions. However, assessing their health status is complicated by the fact that when migrants are sick or injured they often return to their rural homes. This study looked at the economic and other costs of occupational injury among migrants through a study of return migrants. The analysis drew on existing quantitative and qualitative data from the large-scale POVILL study of rural health, focusing on migrants within the sample.
In particular, Chen Chuanbo analyzed in detail a number of in-depth interviews with migrants with severe occupational injury who had returned to their home villages in order to understand the circumstances of the injury, the employer’s response and level of compensation, and the subsequent expenses for healthcare that the migrant incurred, as well as the impact on the family. He found that in nearly all cases the amount of compensation was far too little to cover the costs of treatment and long-term care, and that these were not covered by the rural healthcare policies. In addition to the cost of treatment, family members were often prevented from continuing their normal employment because of the need to care for injured children or siblings, resulting in a loss of income to the family. These findings have important indications for the services provided under the new rule healthcare policies, as well as for assessments of the real costs and benefits of migration to rural areas, and for the country as a whole. As many other environment-related diseases are also not covered, the significance goes beyond migrant workers to other rural residents.
For publications resulting from this project , please see here.

For more information about this project, contact Chen Chuanbo at