Low levels of human capital in rural China are rooted in the poor schooling outcomes of elementary school students. The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the distribution of academic performance in rural China and identify vulnerable groups.Design/methodology/approachThe authors draw on a data set of 25,892 observations constructed from 11 school-level surveys spanning nine provinces and one municipality in China conducted from 2013 to 2015.FindingsThe authors find that the distribution of academic performance is uneven across provinces and subgroups. In general, male students, Han, living in richer counties, living with their parents and studying in rural public schools do better academically than female students, non-Han, living in poorer counties, left behind and studying in private migrant schools in cities.Research limitations/implicationsUsing the results of this study, policymakers should be able to better target investments into rural education focusing on at risk subpopulations.Originality/valueWith limited data sources, the research on the academic performance of students in rural China is largely absent. The findings of this study help to fill the gaps in the literature base.
China Agricultural Economic Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 3, 2019
Keywords: China; Rural areas; Academic performance; I124; I28; R10