China's Great Migration
China's Great Migration

China's Great Migration

How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation


232 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Hardcover, ebook: PDF, ebook: EPUB, Mobipocket

Hardcover, $27.95 (US $27.95) (CA $37.95)

Publication Date: July 2017

ISBN 9781598132229


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China's rise over the past several decades has lifted more than half of its population out of poverty and reshaped the global economy. What has caused this dramatic transformation? In China's Great Migration: How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation, author Bradley Gardner looks at one of the most important but least discussed forces pushing China's economic development: the migration of more than 260 million people from their birthplaces to China's most economically vibrant cities. By combining an analysis of China's political economy with current scholarship on the role of migration in economic development, China's Great Migration shows how the largest economic migration in the history of the world has led to a bottom-up transformation of China. Gardner draws from his experience as a researcher and journalist working in China to investigate why people chose to migrate and the social and political consequences of their decisions. In the aftermath of China's Cultural Revolution, the collapse of totalitarian government control allowed millions of people to skirt migration restrictions and move to China's growing cities, where they offered a massive pool of labor that propelled industrial development, foreign investment, and urbanization. Struggling to respond to the demands of these migrants, the Chinese government loosened its grip on the economy, strengthening property rights and allowing migrants to employ themselves and each other, spurring the Chinese economic miracle. More than simply a narrative of economic progress, China's Great Migration tells the human story of China's transformation, featuring interviews with the men and women whose way of life has been remade. In its pages, readers will learn about the rebirth of a country and millions of lives changed, hear what migration can tell us about the future of China, and discover what China's development can teach the rest of the world about the role of market liberalization and economic migration in fighting poverty and creating prosperity.


"China's Great Migration is timely and makes good reading at a time when political forces in the developed world are turning against migration and its benefits." —Sir Christopher Pissarides, Nobel Prize Laureate, Economic Sciences; Regius Professor of Economics, London School of Economics

"China's Great Migration is an excellent book on how liberty is the key for Chinese economic development. The Chinese migration movement is the key for Chinese development. The book is also great in terms of comparative value." —Kate Xiao Zhou, Professor, Comparative Politics and Political Economy of China, Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii at Manoa; author, How the Farmers Changed China: The Power of the People and China's Long March to Freedom: Grassroots Modernizaton

"Bradley Gardner sheds a bright light on China's great liberal leap forward. A free-market story of how China removed the chains from human capital and how that facilitated an explosion of entrepreneurship and the greatest migration in world history." —Steve H. Hanke, Professor, Applied Economics, Johns Hopkins University

"Bradley Gardner's book China's Great Migration offers an insight on every page. You should read this book because Gardner is a gifted writer and an even better storyteller. I have not read a better book about China's economic transformation." —Timothy J. Kane, J.P. Conte Fellow, Immigration Studies, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

"China's Great Migration combines on-the-ground reporting with significant economic and historical scholarship, and it's a great read. Gardner has written an important book for anyone interested in understanding China, migration, or the economics of development. Highly recommended!" —Alexander Tabarrok, Bartley J. Madden Chair and Professor of Economics, George Mason University

"In China's Great Migration, Bradley Gardner has written an outstanding book. All people who are serious about understanding how migration can create prosperity need to read Gardner's excellent book!" —Benjamin Powell, Director, Free Market Institute; Professor of Economics, Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University; editor, Making Poor Nations Rich: Entrepreneurship and the Process of Economic Development and The Economics of Immigration: Market-Based Approaches, Social Science, and Public Policy

"China's Great Migration marks a major contribution to the understanding of China's spectacular growth, to the literature on development and especially to the ongoing global elusive quest for poverty-reduction." —Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Emeritus Professor, International Political Economy, IMD; Visiting Professor, Business and Economics, Hong Kong University; Founding Director, The Evian Group

"China's Great Migration is a fascinating book. What has worked in China can work even better globally, if we change our entrenched views about international migration. An open, global, labor market can make the 21st century more prosperous and peaceful." —Ning Wang, Fellow, Coase Institute of Law & Economics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; author (with Nobel Laureate economist Ronald Coase), How China Became Capitalist

Author Biography

Bradley M. Gardner is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, currently serving in Nepal. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked as a Research Analyst with the China office of The Economist's Intelligence Unit, covering regional economics, finance-sector reforms and international trade. He has also worked as Managing Editor of China International Business and Editor-in-Chief for China Offshore/Invest In at Mx Media, as well as covering the financial sector and economic policy for the Czech Business Weekly in Prague, Czech Republic. Bradley holds a M.A. in humanities from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Chinese from the University of Southern California. In rare moments between travels, he and his family live in California.

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