China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Individual’s Rational Choice under Mandatory Policy: Motivation of the “Old Three Classes” for Going to Rural China

Saturday, July 7
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Jacaranda II, First Floor

At the end of 1968, China began its large-scale call for “Up to the mountains and Down to the Countryside” movement, requiring in-school students in junior and senior high schools to go to frontier settlements and rural areas of the country. Under the framework of rational choice theory, the study examined the motivation of the educated youth in handling the “Up to the mountains and Down to the Countryside” movement. The study proposed that under the restriction of social norms, different educated youth demonstrated different considerations about their own interests. The educated youth were divided into two kinds, activists and non-activists. Except for the inclination to idealism and heroism, activists also had concealed interests in their motivations for going to the countryside, such as gaining fame and other personal interests. In view of the inability to fight with the coercive policy, the non-activists employed rational choice strategies to deal with the policy, mainly actively chose the target places close to their home or with better economic conditions. The study found that personal willingness and initiative choice were the factors which dominated the individuals’ behaviors in coping with the mandatory policy. The educated youth's responses to the policy were influenced by their personality as well as their parents' political status.

Jie Shen

Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China

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4 - Individual’s Rational Choice under Mandatory Policy: Motivation of the “Old Three Classes” for Going to Rural China



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