LEWI Research


Trade, capital and human mobility have been growing in volume globally. Simultaneously, urban centres have become magnets attracting labor, capital and commodity. Any analysis of society is incomplete without an examination of the relationship between urbanisation and types of mobility. This working group aims to generate knowledge to understand types of mobility in and out of urban centres, as well as connecting mobility to global production and value chains. Through these analyses, this working group purposes to provide evidence-based policy recommendations for global, regional, national and local policymakers to develop suitable governing and regulation frameworks to monitor and facilitate types of mobility globally.




  • Capital-Labor-Commodity mobility nexus
  • Rural-urban mobility dynamics
  • Global production and value chains
  • Migrant integration and social service landscape in urban centres in Asia




  • Dr Kaxton SIU, Hong Kong Baptist University




  • Dr Jenny CHAN Wai-ling, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Professor CHENG Yuk-shing, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Dr Adam KL CHEUNG, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Professor CHOW Yiu-fai, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Dr HAO Pu, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Dr JIANG Jin, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Dr PENG Yinni, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Professor Charlotte YANG Chun, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Professor YOON In-Jin, Korea University
Chinese migrant factory workers across four decades: shifts in work conditions, urbanization, and family strategies
Dr Kaxton SIU
Today about 90 million urban Chinese factory workers are migrant workers from the countryside, comprising the largest and most rapidly expanded industrial working class in history. Before the mid-2000s, these workers from the countryside were employed only temporarily in factories, and almost all were young, very poorly paid and exploited. But as labor shortages have developed and as restrictions against residing in China’s cities have relaxed, they are not as vulnerable as they were in previous decades. More of them are older, married, and have children, and many of them would like to settle on a permanent basis near their workplace with their families. Drawing on three decades of on-site interview research up through November 2018, the authors examine the changes that have occurred and the obstacles – such as the remaining difficulty of obtaining an affordable urban education for their children – that still stand in the way of migrant Chinese families remaining intact and settling permanently in urban areas. As a means of conceptualizing the implications of the shifts in migrant workers’ circumstances, especially for work relations and labor disputes, their evolving situation will be analyzed through the paradigm of Albert O. Hirschman’s concept of Exit vs. Voice.


Residential Willingness-to-Pay for Reducing Coal-Fired Generation's Emissions in Hong Kong
Professor CHENG Yuk-shing
Hong Kong residents’ willingness-to-pay estimate for a 30 percent emissions reduction via natural-gas-fired generation is an 18 percent annual electricity bill increase, twice the estimate for nuclear power. Since these WTP estimates are below the projected bill increase required to achieve the government's emissions reduction target, they suggest that a narrow supply-side focus on the generation fuel mix may not be publicly acceptable. The solution is a more comprehensive policy that would include energy efficiency investment and vehicular emissions reductions.