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Growth and structural changes in employment in transition China

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  • Cai, Fang
  • Wang, Meiyan

Abstract

By clarifying officially published statistics on labor market and employment and combining them with micro survey data, this paper tries to depict the employment growth and structural changes in rural and urban China and to break the myths believed by domestic and international scholars such as "zero growth of employment" and "unchangeable rural surplus labor pool". The paper provides exact statistics about China's labor market that previous studies fail to do, explaining how labor market develops, employment in both rural and urban areas increases and its structure diversifies, urban unemployment alleviates and number of rural surplus laborers reduces, as a result of economic growth, reform and opening-up. By examining demographic transition process in China, the paper also predicts the emerging trend of labor shortage, suggests a coming Lewisian turning point and reveals its policy implications to China's sustainable growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Cai, Fang & Wang, Meiyan, 2010. "Growth and structural changes in employment in transition China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 71-81, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:38:y:2010:i:1:p:71-81
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zhao, Yaohui, 1999. "Labor Migration and Earnings Differences: The Case of Rural China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(4), pages 767-782, July.
    2. Bloom, David E & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1998. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 419-455, September.
    3. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1999. " When Economic Reform Is Faster Than Statistical Reform: Measuring and Explaining Income Inequality in Rural China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(1), pages 33-56, February.
    4. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "Growth, Distribution, and Demography: Some Lessons from History," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 241-271, July.
    5. Fang Cai & Meiyan Wang, 2008. "A Counterfactual Analysis on Unlimited Surplus Labor in Rural China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 16(1), pages 51-65.
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