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Changes In China'S Wage Structure

Listed author(s):
  • Suqin Ge
  • Dennis Tao Yang

Using a national sample of Urban Household Surveys, we document several profound changes in China's wage structure during a period of rapid economic growth. Between 1992 and 2007, the average real wage increased by 202%, accompanied by a sharp rise in wage inequality. Decomposition analysis reveals 80% of this wage growth to be attributable to higher pay for basic labor, rising returns to human capital, and increases in the state-sector wage premium. By employing an aggregate production function framework, we account for the sources of wage growth and wage inequality amid fast economic growth and transition. We find capital accumulation, skill-biased technological change, and rural–urban migration to be the major forces behind the evolving wage structure in urban China.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12072
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Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 12 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 300-336

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:12:y:2014:i:2:p:300-336
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  1. Loren Brandt & Trevor Tombe & Xiadong Zhu, 2013. "Factor Market Distortions Across Time, Space, and Sectors in China," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 39-58, January.
  2. Knight, John & Yueh, Linda, 2004. "Job mobility of residents and migrants in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 637-660, December.
  3. Ge, Suqin & Yang, Dennis Tao, 2011. "Labor market developments in China: A neoclassical view," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 611-625.
  4. Zheng Song & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2011. "Growing Like China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 196-233, February.
  5. Lee, Donghoon & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 2010. "Accounting for wage and employment changes in the US from 1968-2000: A dynamic model of labor market equilibrium," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 68-85, May.
  6. repec:lsu:lsuwpp:2003-12 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 17-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Meng, Xin & Kidd, Michael P., 1997. "Labor Market Reform and the Changing Structure of Wage Determination in China's State Sector during the 1980s," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 403-421, December.
  9. Shing-Yi Wang, 2011. "State Misallocation and Housing Prices: Theory and Evidence from China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2081-2107, August.
  10. John Knight & Lina Song, 2003. "Increasing urban wage inequality in China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(4), pages 597-619, December.
  11. Albert G. Z. Hu & Gary H. Jefferson & Qian Jinchang, 2005. "R&D and Technology Transfer: Firm-Level Evidence from Chinese Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 780-786, November.
  12. Dong, Xiao-Yuan & Putterman, Louis, 2003. "Soft budget constraints, social burdens, and labor redundancy in China's state industry," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 110-133, March.
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