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The Effects of Market Liberalization on the Relative Earnings of Chinese Women


  • Maurer-Fazio, Margaret
  • Hughes, James


In this paper we first explore the effects of differences in labor market institutions and the degree of market liberalization on the size and composition of gender wages gaps in China's urban labor markets. We use enterprise-ownership type, enterprise age, and workers' methods of finding employment as proxies for the extent of market liberalization. We find both the size of the wage gaps and the proportion of the gap left unexplained by differences in productive characteristics largest in the most liberalized (joint venture) sector, and smallest in the least liberalized (state) sector. We next investigate the effects of differences in wage structure on the gender wage gaps. We find that differences in wage structure, in general, and the degree of wage dispersion, in particular, are extremely important in accounting for the larger wage gaps in the joint venture and collective sectors relative to the state-owned sector.
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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:30:y:2002:i:4:p:709-731

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chen, Jian & Fleisher, Belton M., 1996. "Regional Income Inequality and Economic Growth in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 141-164, April.
    2. Rawski, Thomas G, 1994. "Chinese Industrial Reform: Accomplishments, Prospects, and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 271-275, May.
    3. Fleisher, Belton M. & Chen, Jian, 1997. "The Coast-Noncoast Income Gap, Productivity, and Regional Economic Policy in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 220-236, October.
    4. Elizabeth Brainerd, 2000. "Women in Transition: Changes in Gender Wage Differentials in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 138-162, October.
    5. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, March.
    6. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    7. 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 29-62, Suppl..
    8. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    9. Brainerd, Elizabeth, 1998. "Winners and Losers in Russia's Economic Transition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1094-1116, December.
    10. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    11. Lee, Jongchul, 2000. "Changes in the source of China's regional inequality," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 232-245.
    12. Bronars, Stephen G & Famulari, Melissa, 1997. "Wage, Tenure, and Wage Growth Variation within and across Establishment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 285-317, April.
    13. Gary H. Jefferson & Thomas G. Rawski, 1994. "Enterprise Reform in Chinese Industry," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 47-70, Spring.
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    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population


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