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How High is Urban Unemployment in China?

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Author Info

  • John Knight
  • Jinjun Xue

Abstract

Rapid economic growth and radical structural transformation pose a challenge to official statisticians as they seek to encompass new economic activities and phenomena. The accuracy of official statistics is liable to come into question. Urban unemployment in China is a good example. This paper estimates the urban unemployment rate using administrative statistics, population census data and a recent sample survey data set, and provides a critique showing in some detail how and why Chinese unemployment statistics are a minefield for the unwary and unemployment is so difficult to measure. Nevertheless, it is found that the urban unemployment rate rose rapidly over the 1990s and exceeded 11% in 1999 and 2000. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the findings for understanding unemployment, for policy, and for the collection of statistics.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies.

Volume (Year): 4 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 91-107

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jocebs:v:4:y:2006:i:2:p:91-107

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Related research

Keywords: JEL Classifications: C13; J21; J64; J79; O53;

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References

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  1. Knight, John & Li, Shi, 2005. "Wages, firm profitability and labor market segmentation in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 205-228.
  2. John Knight & Linda Yueh & Linda Y. Yueh, 2003. "Job Mobility of Residents and Migrants in Urban China," Economics Series Working Papers 163, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Kingdon, Geeta & Knight, John, 2006. "The measurement of unemployment when unemployment is high," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 291-315, June.
  4. Appleton, Simon & Knight, John & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2002. "Labor retrenchment in China: Determinants and consequences," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 252-275.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Yang, Dennis T. & Chen, Vivian & Monarch, Ryan, 2010. "Rising Wages: Has China Lost Its Global Labor Advantage?," IZA Discussion Papers 5008, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Knight, John, 2007. "China, South Africa, and the Lewis Model," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Leslie Lipschitz & Geneviève Verdier & Céline Rochon, 2008. "A Real Model of Transitional Growth and Competitiveness in China," IMF Working Papers 08/99, International Monetary Fund.
  4. FU, Shihe & DONG, Xiaofang & CHAI, Guojun, 2010. "Industry specialization, diversification, churning, and unemployment in Chinese cities," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 508-520, December.
  5. Smyth, Russell & Mishra, Vinod & Qian, Xiaolei, 2008. "The Environment and Well-Being in Urban China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 547-555, December.
  6. Yang, Dennis T. & Zhang, Junsen & Zhou, Shaojie, 2011. "Why Are Saving Rates So High in China?," IZA Discussion Papers 5465, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Holz, Carsten A, 2013. "Chinese statistics: classification systems and data sources," MPRA Paper 43869, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Meng, Xin & Gregory, Robert & Wan, Guanghua, 2006. "China Urban Poverty and its Contributing Factors, 1986-2000," Working Paper Series RP2006/133, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  9. Liu, Qian, 2012. "Unemployment and labor force participation in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 18-33.
  10. Yi Feng, 2010. "National agenda, politics, and macroeconomic performance: An empirical study of growth, inflation, and employment in China," Journal of Chinese Economic and Foreign Trade Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 97-109, June.
  11. Bagnai, Alberto, 2009. "The role of China in global external imbalances: Some further evidence," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 508-526, September.

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