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Labor Market Developments in China: A Neoclassical View

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  • Ge, Suqin

    ()
    (Virginia Tech)

  • Yang, Dennis T.

    ()
    (University of Virginia)

Abstract

This paper assesses the applicability of two alternative theories in understanding labor market developments in China: the classical view featuring a Lewis turning point in wage growth versus a neoclassical framework emphasizing rational choices of individuals and equilibrating forces of the market. Empirical evidence based on multiple data sources fails to validate the arrival of the Lewis turning point in China, showing continuous and coordinated wage growth across rural and urban sectors instead. Consistent with the neoclassical view, we find that rural workers expanded off-farm work when mobility restrictions were lifted, interprovincial migration responded to expected earnings and local employment conditions, and returns to education converged gradually to the international standard. These findings suggest major progresses in the integration of labor markets in China.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5377.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: China Economic Review, 2011, 22 (4), 611-625
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5377

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Related research

Keywords: wage growth; labor markets; rural-urban migration; Lewis turning point; schooling returns; China;

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References

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  1. Maurer-Fazio, Margaret, 1999. "Earnings and education in China's transition to a market economy Survey evidence from 1989 and 1992," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 17-40.
  2. Sylvie Démurger & Marc Gurgand & Li Shi & Yue Ximing, 2008. "Migrants as second-class workers in urban China? A decomposition analysis," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586783, HAL.
  3. de Brauw, Alan & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott & Zhang, Linxiu & Zhang, Yigang, 2002. "The Evolution of China's Rural Labor Markets During the Reforms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 329-353, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Nathalie Chusseau & Joël Hellier, 2012. "Inequality in Emerging Countries," Working Papers hal-00993411, HAL.
  2. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China: New Evidence Using Heteroskedasticity Restrictions to Obtain Identification Without Exclusion Restrictions," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 33-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  3. Binkai Chen & Ming Lu & Ninghua Zhong, 2012. "Hukou and Consumption Heterogeneity: Migrants' Expenditure Is Depressed by Institutional Constraints in Urban China," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd11-221, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  4. Bonatti, Luigi & Fracasso, Andrea, 2013. "Hoarding of international reserves in China: Mercantilism, domestic consumption and US monetary policy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 1044-1078.
  5. Bonatti, Luigi & Fracasso, Andrea, 2013. "Regime switches in the Sino-American co-dependency: Growth and structural change in China," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 1-32.
  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. Suqin Ge & Dennis Tao Yang, 2014. "Changes In China'S Wage Structure," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 300-336, 04.

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