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The Role of Social Capital in the Labour Market in China

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  • John Knight
  • Linda Yueh

Abstract

Social capital is thought to play an economic role in the labour market. It may be particularly pertinent in one that is in transition from an administered to a market-oriented system. One factor that may determine success in the underdeveloped Chinese labour market is thus guanxi, the Chinese variant of social capital. With individual-level measures of social capital, we test for the role of guanxi using a data set designed for this purpose, covering 7,500 urban workers and conducted in early 2000. The basic hypothesis is supported. Both measures of social capital - size of social network and Communist Party membership - have significant and substantial effects in the income functions. Indeed, social capital may be just as important as human capital: remarkably, one additional reported contact contributes more than one additional year of education. Social capital can have influence either in an administered system or in one subject to market forces. We find that it does so in both parts of the labour market, but some of the evidence suggests that it is more important in the latter.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 121.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:121

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Keywords: labour markets; wages; social capital; social networks; China;

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References

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  1. Rebick, Marcus E, 1998. "The Importance of Networks in the Market for University Graduates in Japan: A Longitudinal Analysis of Hiring Patterns," CEPR Discussion Papers 1816, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1997. "Cents and sociability : household income and social capital in rural Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1796, The World Bank.
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  4. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-18, December.
  5. Bartlett, Robin L & Miller, Timothy I, 1985. "Executive Compensation: Female Executives and Networking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 266-70, May.
  6. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1999. "The Rural-Urban Divide: Economic Disparities and Interactions in China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293309, September.
  7. Durlauf, Steven N, 1993. "Nonergodic Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 349-66, April.
  8. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  9. Katharine G. Abraham & James L. Medoff, 1983. "Length of Service and the Operation of Internal Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 1085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Knight, John B & Song, Lina, 1991. "The Determinants of Urban Income Inequality in China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(2), pages 123-54, May.
  11. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Yueh, Linda, 2009. "China's Entrepreneurs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 778-786, April.
  2. Wang, Xiaobing & Herzfeld, Thomas & Glauben, Thomas, 2007. "Labor allocation in transition: Evidence from Chinese rural households," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 287-308.
  3. Yuanyuan Chen & Shuaizhang Feng, 2011. "Parental education and wages: Evidence from China," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 568-591, December.
  4. Chen, Yuanyuan & Feng, Shuaizhang, 2009. "Parental Education and Wages: Evidence from China," IZA Discussion Papers 4218, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Wang, Xiaobing, 2007. "Labor market behavior of Chinese rural households during transition," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Central and Eastern Europe, Leib­niz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO), volume 42, number 92321.
  6. Long, Wenjin & Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina, 2013. "Job Contact Networks and Wages of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," IZA Discussion Papers 7577, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Shiqing Jiang & Ming Lu & Hiroshi Sato, 2010. "Identity, Inequality, and Happiness: Evidence from Urban China," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-131, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  8. Ming Lu & Jianzhi Zhao, 2009. "The Contribution of Social Networks to Income Inequality in Rural China: A Regression-Based Decomposition and Cross-Regional Comparison," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-019, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  9. Glauben, Thomas & Herzfeld, Thomas & Wang, Xiaobing, 2005. "Labor Market Participation of Chinese Agricultural Households," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24516, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  10. Glauben, Thomas & Herzfeld, Thomas & Rozelle, Scott & Wang, Xiaobing, 2012. "Persistent Poverty in Rural China: Where, Why, and How to Escape?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 784-795.
  11. Yongqin Wang & Ming Li, 2009. "Costs and Benefits of Relational Contracting in China’s Transition," Transition Studies Review, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 693-709, October.
  12. Glauben, Thomas & Herzfeld, Thomas & Wang, Xiaobing, 2008. "Labor market participation of Chinese agricultural households: Empirical evidence from Zhejiang province," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 329-340, August.
  13. Jorg Scheibe, 2003. "The Chinese Output Gap During the Reform Period 1978-2002," Economics Series Working Papers 179, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  14. Shuang LI & Ming LU & Hiroshi Sato, 2008. "The Value of Power in China: How Do Party Membership and Social Networks Affect Pay in Different Ownership Sectors?," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-011, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  15. Knight, John, 2013. "The economic causes and consequences of social instability in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 17-26.

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