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Labor Market Reform, Income Inequality and Economic Growth in China


  • Ming Lu
  • Shiqing Jiang


The year 1996 was a turning point both in terms of Chinese labor market reform and in China's economic growth pattern. Before 1996, labor market reform was mainly implemented through adjustment of people's occupation and income structure. Since 1996, employment restructuring has led to differentiation in terms of employment status. Labor market reform in the former stage resulted in slow growth in wages, whereas reform in the latter stage enhanced economic efficiency. Both stages have enabled the Chinese economy to apply its comparative advantage of low labor cost. Labor market reform has also increased income disparity and, therefore, new challenges are posed in sustaining economic growth. China needs to adjust its development strategies and introduce labor market reform that can improve income equality, so as to achieve sustainable economic development. Copyright (c) 2008 The Authors Journal compilation (c) 2008 Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Suggested Citation

  • Ming Lu & Shiqing Jiang, 2008. "Labor Market Reform, Income Inequality and Economic Growth in China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 16(6), pages 63-80.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:chinae:v:16:y:2008:i:6:p:63-80

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