Cities Make Life Better: Hukou and Household Satisfaction about Life

Zhao Fengjun (赵奉军)
Alibaba Business School, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, China
Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between a change of hukou and
household satisfaction about life based on large-sample China Family Panel Studies (CFPS)
data. As horizontally shown by cross-section data, significant hukou identity differences
exist in the subjective happiness of households reflected in life satisfaction. However, the
traditional view that “rural residents are subjectively happier than urban residents” is not
verified in this study. From a vertical perspective of tracing data, the estimation results
of the DID model and the PSM model indicate that a change of hukou identity for rural
residents has a significantly positive effect on their subjective happiness, lending credence
to the saying that “cities make life better”.
Keywords: subjective happiness, life satisfaction, hukou, propensity score matching,
difference-in-differences
JEL Classification: I31 J61

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