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Sectoral gender wage differentials and discrimination in the transitional Chinese economy


  • Xin Meng

    (Australian National University, Department of Economics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Canberra, Australia)

  • Junsen Zhang

    () (Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong)

  • Pak-Wai Liu

    () (Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong)


China's economic reform has affected various ownership sectors to different degree. A comparison of gender wage differentials and discrimination among individuals employed in the three sectors - state sector, the collective sector, and the private sector - provides information on the impact of economic reform. Two Chinese data sets from Shanghai and Jinan are used to examine the gender wage gap across the three sectors. It is found that privatization/marketization of the economy leads to larger wage differentials as human capital characteristics are more appropriately rewarded. Both data sets show that the relative share of discrimination in the overall gender wage differential declines substantially across ownership sectors from the state to the private. The increase in gender wage differential due to marketization is much larger than any increase in differential that may arise from more gender discrimination.

Suggested Citation

  • Xin Meng & Junsen Zhang & Pak-Wai Liu, 2000. "Sectoral gender wage differentials and discrimination in the transitional Chinese economy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 13(2), pages 331-352.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:13:y:2000:i:2:p:331-352
    Note: Received: 5 November 1997/Accepted: 10 January 2000

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    More about this item


    Gender wage differentials; discrimination; China's economic reform;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General


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