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Economic transition and the motherhood wage penalty in urban China: investigation using panel data

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  • Nan Jia
  • Xiao-Yuan Dong

Abstract

China's economic transition has fundamentally changed the mechanisms for allocating and compensating labour. This paper investigates how the economic transition has affected the wage gap between mothers and childless women in urban China using panel data for the period 1990–2005. The results show that overall, mothers earned considerably less than childless women; additionally, the wage penalties for motherhood went up substantially from the gradualist reform period (1990–96) to the radical reform period (1999–2005). The results also show that that although motherhood does not appear to have a significant wage effect for the state sector, it imposes substantial wage losses for mothers in the non-state sector. These findings suggest that the economic transition has shifted part of the cost of childbearing and -rearing from the state and employers back to women, in the form of lower earnings for working mothers. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Nan Jia & Xiao-Yuan Dong, 2013. "Economic transition and the motherhood wage penalty in urban China: investigation using panel data," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(4), pages 819-843.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:37:y:2013:i:4:p:819-843
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/bes044
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    Cited by:

    1. Hare, Denise, 2016. "What accounts for the decline in labor force participation among married women in urban China, 1991–2011?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 251-266.
    2. Denise Hare, 2018. "Examining The Timing Of Women'S Retirement In Urban China: A Discrete Time Hazard Rate Approach," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 451-466, July.
    3. Liangshu Qi & Xiao-Yuan Dong, 2013. "Housework Burdens, Quality of Market Work Time, and Men’s and Women’s Earnings in China," Departmental Working Papers 2013-01, The University of Winnipeg, Department of Economics.
    4. de Bruin, Anne & Liu, Na, 2020. "The urbanization-household gender inequality nexus: Evidence from time allocation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    5. Menghan Zhao, 2018. "From Motherhood Premium to Motherhood Penalty? Heterogeneous Effects of Motherhood Stages on Women’s Economic Outcomes in Urban China," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 37(6), pages 967-1002, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • R20 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - General

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