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Rising Wages: Has China Lost Its Global Labor Advantage?

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  • DennisTao Yang
  • VivianWeijia Chen
  • Ryan Monarch

Abstract

We document dramatic rising wages in China for the period 1978-2007 based on multiple sources of aggregate statistics. Although real wages increased seven-fold during the period, growth was uneven across ownership types, industries and regions. Over the past decade, the wages of state-owned enterprises have increased rapidly and wage disparities between skill-intensive and labour-intensive industries have widened. Comparisons of international data show that China's manufacturing wage has already converged to that of Asian emerging markets, but China still enjoys enormous labour cost advantages over its neighbouring developed economies. Our analysis suggests that China's wage growth will stabilize to a moderate pace in the near future. Copyright 2010 The Authors. Pacific Economic Review 2010 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Pacific Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 15 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 482-504

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Handle: RePEc:bla:pacecr:v:15:y:2010:i:4:p:482-504

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  1. Yang, Dennis Tao, 2005. "Determinants of schooling returns during transition: Evidence from Chinese cities," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 244-264, June.
  2. Guanghua Wan & Ming Lu & Zhao Chen, 2007. "Globalization And Regional Income Inequality: Empirical Evidence From Within China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(1), pages 35-59, 03.
  3. John Giles & Albert Park & Fang Cai, 2003. "How has Economic Restructuring Affected China’s Urban Workers?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-628, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Fleisher, Belton M. & Sabirianova, Klara & Wang, Xiaojun, 2005. "Returns to skills and the speed of reforms: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe, China, and Russia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 351-370, June.
  5. Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2004. "Fifty Years of Regional Inequality in China: A Journey through Central Planning, Reform, and Openness," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Meng,Xin, 2009. "Labour Market Reform in China," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521121118, April.
  7. Zhang, Junsen & Zhao, Yaohui & Park, Albert & Song, Xiaoqing, 2005. "Economic returns to schooling in urban China, 1988 to 2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 730-752, December.
  8. Dong, Xiao-Yuan & Putterman, Louis, 2003. "Soft budget constraints, social burdens, and labor redundancy in China's state industry," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 110-133, March.
  9. John Knight & Jinjun Xue, 2006. "How High is Urban Unemployment in China?," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 91-107.
  10. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
  11. Giles, John & Park, Albert & Zhang, Juwei, 2005. "What is China's true unemployment rate?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 149-170.
  12. John Knight & Lina Song, 2003. "Increasing urban wage inequality in China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(4), pages 597-619, December.
  13. Richard B. Freeman & Remco Oostendorp, 2000. "Wages Around the World: Pay Across Occupations and Countries," NBER Working Papers 8058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Haiyan Deng & Robert H. McGuckin & John C. Haltiwanger & Xu Jianyi & Liu Yaodong & Liu Yuqi, 2007. "The Contribution of Restructuring and Reallocation to China's Productivity and Growth," Economics Program Working Papers 07-04, The Conference Board, Economics Program.
  15. Yang, Dennis Tao, 2002. "What has caused regional inequality in China?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 331-334, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lili Kang & Fei Peng, 2012. "A selection analysis of returns to education in China," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 535-554, March.
  2. Mayer, Jörg, 2012. "Global rebalancing: Effects on trade and employment," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 627-642.
  3. Holz , Carsten A. & Mehrotra, Aaron, 2014. "Wage and price dynamics in a large emerging economy: The case of China," BOFIT Discussion Papers 3/2014, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  4. Wang, Le, 2011. "How Does Education Affect the Earnings Distribution in Urban China?," IZA Discussion Papers 6173, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Ramkishen S. Rajan & Javier Beverinotti, 2012. "The real exchange rate, sectoral allocation and development in China and East Asia: A simple exposition," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 401-414, 05.
  6. Dennis Tao Yang & Junsen Zhang & Shaojie Zhou, 2011. "Why Are Saving Rates so High in China?," NBER Working Papers 16771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Fariha Kamal & Mary E. Lovely & Devashish Mitra, 2014. "Trade Liberalization And Labor Shares In China," Working Papers 14-24, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Kang, Lili & Peng, Fei, 2013. "Economic Reform and Productivity Convergence in China," MPRA Paper 50810, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Gary Fields, 2012. "Challenges and policy lessons for the growth-employment-poverty nexus in developing countries," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-24, December.
  10. Janet Ceglowski & Stephen Golub, 2011. "Does China Still Have a Labor Cost Advantage?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3579, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Dong He & Wenlang Zhang & Gaofeng Han & Tommy Wu, 2012. "Productivity Growth of the Non-Tradable Sectors in China," Working Papers 082012, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.

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