Floating population’s dialect skill and entrepreneurial choice

WEI Xiahai1 CHEN Siyu1 LI Jiahui1

(1.School of Economics and Management, South China Normal University;)

【Abstract】By using the dynamic monitoring data of national floating population from 2013 to 2014, this paper studies the impact of dialect skill of floating population on their entrepreneurial choice. Theoretically speaking, as a unique regional verbal form, dialect is a vital way to show a person’s identity. Acquiring the local dialect helps floating population to build the social network, enhance the social identity and reduce discrimination, which reduce barriers to entrepreneurship, so as to increase their entrepreneurial probabilities. The studies show that floating population who can fluently speak local dialect are more likely to become entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial effect of dialect is very significant in the city skirt, towns, rural areas and between different dialectal regions, but not significant in the urban areas and within the same dialectal region. The positive impact of the dialect skill on the entrepreneurship of floating population has some policy implications for the construction of entrepreneurial economy.

【Keywords】 local dialect; entrepreneurship; floating population;


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    [1]. ① National Bureau of Statistics of the People’s Republic of China: Statistical Communiqué on the 2015 National Economic and Social Development (http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/zxfb/201602/t20160229_1323991.html). [^Back]

    [2]. ① The data are provided by the Migrant Population Data Platform of National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China (www.http://chinaldrk.org.cn) [^Back]

    [3]. ① The percentage is calculated from the data in this article. Entrepreneurship can be divided into two categories by the purposes of individual entrepreneurship: one is opportunity entrepreneurship that seeks market opportunities, and the other one is necessity entrepreneurship that solves employment problems (Lippmann et al., 2005). In this study, the entrepreneurship of those reported as self-employed is considered as necessity entrepreneurship and the purpose of these entrepreneurs is to solve employment problems, while those reported as employers are opportunity entrepreneurs and the purpose of them is to seek business opportunities. [^Back]

    [4]. ① The scope of migration includes across provincial regions, across cities and across counties. This study has two dummy variables as the instrumental variables for the level of mastering of the local dialects (the samples flow cross counties are the control group). [^Back]

    [5]. ② Wald exogenous test results also confirm that endogenous problems do exist. The results of the first stage estimation confirm the hypothesis that the local dialect skills of the floating population migrating across cities and provincial regions are lower than that of the floating population migrating within the same cities. In addition, the greater the distance between the place of household registration and the inflow area is, the lower the local dialect skills of floating population are. The effects are significant. However, this result is not reported due to the limitation of space. [^Back]

    [6]. ③ The question was “the situation of getting along with the natives” in the 2013 survey and it was changed to “the situation of you or your family members getting along with the natives” in the 2014 survey. [^Back]

    [7]. ④ The question was “I am willing to make friends with the natives around me” in the 2013 survey and it was changed to “I am willing to make friends with the natives” in the 2014 survey. [^Back]

    [8]. ⑤ Xinhuanet: Behind “the dialect defence war”: a strong economy leads to strong cultural transmission (http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2006-01/04/content_4006875.htm). [^Back]

    [9]. ① The question was “I have a sense of belonging to the current city” in the 2013 survey and it was changed to “I feel I belong to this city” in the 2014 survey. [^Back]

    [10]. ② The question was “I think the natives are willing to accept me as one of them” in both the 2013 and the 2014 surveys. [^Back]

    [11]. ③ The question was “I feel the natives do not like or look down on the non-natives” in the 2013 survey and it was changed to “I feel the natives look down on me” in the 2014 survey. [^Back]

    [12]. ① “Dialect protection: keep the nostalgia in the dialect,” Guangming Daily (http://epaper.gmw.cn/gmrb/html/2016-03/26/nw.D110000gmrb_20160326_1-09.htm?div=-1) [^Back]

    [13]. ② Calculated from the data in this study. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-1043/C

Vol , No. 06, Pages 36-46+126-127

December 2016


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 The mechanism of local dialect influencing individual entrepreneurship
  • 3 Data and empirical model
  • 4 Empirical results
  • 5 Conclusion
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