This paper takes income and “two no worries and three guarantees” (rural poor people have no worry about food and clothing and have access to compulsory education, basic medical services, and safe housing) as two essential indexes, and is based on data collected from a survey of 237 rural households living below the poverty level in Yi communities in Liangshan. Through case studies and positive analysis, we explored the impact of labor transfer on poverty alleviation. We found that the following factors contribute to a double paradox of labor service-enabled poverty alleviation: An income growth trend which prioritizes “external income” (from urban work) over “internal income” (from an agricultural business), restrictions by performance indexes, as well as a lack of public services in rural areas. Although labor transfer can help rural households increase household income and non-agricultural income and reduce poverty within a short period of time, it can hardly promote agricultural businesses through non-agricultural employment and thereby help poverty-stricken rural households permanently alleviate poverty. Although labor transfer can exacerbate various issues facing poverty-stricken households (such as a delay in housing construction, school drop-out rates and health risks for the elderly), it can also play a positive role in raising the profile of farmers and improving rural education and living environments. Based on this study, we propose continuing the supply-side reform in the labor market, implementing differentiated poverty alleviation policies, improving the existing mechanism for poverty alleviation assessment, establishing rural public services, and launching a corresponding multi-channel financing mechanism.



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