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A View of the Occupational Structure in Imperial and Republican China (1640–1952)


  • Yongqin Guo
  • Zipeng Zhang
  • Bas van Leeuwen
  • Yi Xu


Despite being considered a prime indicator of economic change, the occupational structure does not figure prominently in the debate regarding the economic development of early modern China. One reason is the virtual absence of occupational data before the start of the twentieth century. In this paper, we make a first attempt to sketch the occupational structure between ca. 1640 and 1952 using a variety of unique and rather fragmented occupational sources. We find that the share of persons working in agriculture remained stable until the mid‐nineteenth century, with the share in industry showing some growth thereafter.

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  • Yongqin Guo & Zipeng Zhang & Bas van Leeuwen & Yi Xu, 2019. "A View of the Occupational Structure in Imperial and Republican China (1640–1952)," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 59(2), pages 134-158, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ozechr:v:59:y:2019:i:2:p:134-158

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