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Economic transition and gender differentials in wages and productivity: Evidence from Chinese manufacturing enterprises

  • Dong, Xiao-yuan
  • Zhang, Liqin

We use firm-level data to analyze male-female wage differences in Chinese industry in the late 1990s. Our estimates indicate that employers' discrimination against women was not a significant source of the gender wage gap in Chinese state-owned enterprises. Instead, we find that the relative wage of unskilled female to male workers was higher than their relative productivity. This result indicates that unskilled female workers in the state sector had historically received wage premiums and consequently accounted for a disproportionate share of the sector's labor surplus.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 144-156

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:88:y:2009:i:1:p:144-156
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  1. Maurer-Fazio, Margaret & Hughes, James, 2002. "The Effects of Market Liberalization on the Relative Earnings of Chinese Women," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 709-731, December.
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  7. Xin Meng & Junsen Zhang & Pak-Wai Liu, 2000. "Sectoral gender wage differentials and discrimination in the transitional Chinese economy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 331-352.
  8. Svejnar, Jan, 1984. "The determinants of industrial-sector earnings in Senegal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-3), pages 289-311.
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  11. Orazem, Peter F. & Vodopivec, Milan, 1999. "Male-female differences in labor market outcomes during the early transition to market : the case of Estonia and Slovenia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2087, The World Bank.
  12. Liqin Zhang & Xiao-Yuan Dong, 2008. "Male-female wage discrimination in Chinese industry," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(1), pages 85-112, 01.
  13. Gunseli Berik, 2000. "Mature Export-Led Growth and Gender Wage Inequality in Taiwan," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 1-26.
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  15. Björn Gustafsson & Shi Li, 2000. "Economic transformation and the gender earnings gap in urban China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 305-329.
  16. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "Wage Structure and Gender Earnings Differentials: An International Comparison," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages S29-62, Suppl..
  17. Elizabeth Brainerd, 2000. "Women in transition: Changes in gender wage differentials in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 138-162, October.
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