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Con icts between local and migrant populations have been ubiquitous in modern China. We examine the potential for longer-term amelioration of this conflict through successive generations and intergroup contact within integrated schooling. We adopt the perspective that in- and out-group biased behaviour structurally arises from group conditional social preferences. We assess the group-conditional social preferences of local and migrant children in a second-tier Chinese city, Xiamen, and the extent these preferences correlate with those of their parents. We find that local students have a greater likelihood of Egalitarian preferences and a lower likelihood of Generous preferences when allocating with locals versus other migrants. We find strong evidence for some intergenerational transmission of social preference types. Still, the types and extent of the transmission strength differ between the High- and Low-status groups and the conditionality of the preference. Notably, there is intergenerational transmission of social preferences of all types among migrants, particularly towards their out-group. Also, there is a negative intergenerational transmission of Spiteful social preferences for Locals, particularly towards Migrants. Our results speak to the literature that examines how intergroup contact can diffuse out-group biases in the urban Chinese local-migrant context.


ESI Working Paper 23-08

Formerly titled "Contacts Between Locals and Migrants Among Chinese Youth: Out-group Bias and Familial Transmission".



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