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Trends in the Gender Earnings Differential in Urban China, 1988–2004

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Author Info

  • Junsen Zhang
  • Jun Han
  • Pak-Wai Liu
  • Yaohui Zhao

Abstract

This paper analyzes changes in the gender earnings gap in urban China over the period 1988–2004 using urban household survey data. The mean female/male earnings ratio declined from 86.3% to 76.2%. Mainly responsible for this diverging trend were rapid increases in returns to both observed and unobserved skills, which accentuated the disadvantage associated with women's lower skill levels. The gender gap in observed skills such as education narrowed over the study period, but did not close, and there is evidence that the gap in unobserved skills widened considerably. Increased discrimination may also have served to widen the gender earnings gap. Analyses by earnings percentile and by sub-period show that although the gap widened much more at the lower end of the earnings distribution than at the upper end over the period as a whole, it widened greatly at the upper end in the most recent years (2001–2004).

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 61 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Pages: 224-243

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:61:y:2008:i:2:p:224-243

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Cited by:
  1. Chen, Zhihong & Ge, Ying & Lai, Huiwen & Wan, Chi, 2013. "Globalization and Gender Wage Inequality in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 256-266.
  2. Wang, Le, 2012. "Economic transition and college premium in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 238-252.
  3. Magnani, Elisabetta & Zhu, Rong, 2012. "Gender wage differentials among rural–urban migrants in China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 779-793.
  4. Hongbin Li & Junjian Yi & Junsen Zhang, 2011. "Estimating the Effect of the One-Child Policy on the Sex Ratio Imbalance in China: Identification Based on the Difference-in-Differences," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1535-1557, November.
  5. Ge, Yuhao & Li, Hongbin & Zhang, Junsen, 2011. "Gender earnings gaps in Hong Kong: Empirical evidence from across the earnings distribution in 2006," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 151-164, March.
  6. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China, 2001-2010: Evidence from Three Waves of the China Urban Labor Survey," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 50-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  7. Anderson, Gordon & Leo, Teng Wah, 2013. "An empirical examination of matching theories: The one child policy, partner choice and matching intensity in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 468-489.
  8. Li, Tao & Zhang, Juyan, 2010. "What determines employment opportunity for college graduates in China after higher education reform?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 38-50, March.

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