MD-Ph.D. Student Jessica Ding Wins an Honorable Mention in Shao Chang Lee Scholarship Fund Best Paper Competition

The Department of Anthropology is pleased to announce that MD-Ph.D. student Jessica Ding has won an honorable mention in the Shao Chang Lee Scholarship Fund Best Paper Competition through the Michigan State University Asian Studies Center. The Shao Chang Lee Scholarship Fund was established by friends and colleagues of the late Professor Lee to provide scholarship awards for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at MSU who have made outstanding accomplishments in Asian studies and are pursuing or planning to pursue a program that includes Asian studies.

Jessica’s paper is titled “Household Registration System Reform: A Sociohistorical Comparison of Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City”, and was written for Dr. Xuefei Ren’s course, Sociology 931: Topics in Structural Inequity. 

Here’s a brief description of her paper:

Migrants entering densely populated urban areas often face barriers to finding work, securing housing, and accessing social services. There are significant structural restrictions at play—in some countries, these restrictions are embedded in inequitable household registration systems. This paper evaluates the divergence in household registration system reforms using two case studies: the hộ khẩu system in Vietnam and the hukou system in China. Despite similarities in original intent, national reforms in the two countries were constructed and implemented differently. This was primarily due to four factors: municipal-central authority power differentials, the balance of citizens’ rights with economic growth, different scopes, and relative concerns with resource allocation. Particularly after the onset of COVID-19, which worsened socioeconomic inequities and disrupted rural-urban migration patterns, it is critical to understand how household registration systems (and their subsequent reforms) continue to shape social mobility and urban growth amid rapid economic progress.