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Climbing the development ladder: Economic development and the evolution of occupations in rural China

  • Sandeep Mohapatra
  • Scott Rozelle
  • Jikun Huang

We study how occupations evolve across space and time during the development of an economy. Using a data set on more than 200 villages from 8 provinces in China, we examine the main occupations that have characterised China's labour markets since the economic reforms. Our findings reveal a systematic evolutionary pattern of occupational emergence: the evolution of occupations proceeds from traditional and fairly simple forms of subsistence agriculture to modern, more complex manufacturing and service firms. Our findings suggest that rural development in China is being built by a process that can be described by the climbing of a development ladder with each step up the ladder denoting the economy's transition into a more complex occupational regime.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 42 (2006)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1023-1055

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:6:p:1023-1055
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  1. World Bank, 2001. "China : Overcoming Rural Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13902.
  2. Stiglitz, J.E., 1988. "Economic Organization, Information And Development," Papers 21, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  3. de Brauw, Alan & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott & Zhang, Linxiu & Zhang, Yigang, 2002. "The Evolution Of China'S Rural Labor Markets During The Reforms," Working Papers 11984, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  4. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1986. "Access to Capital and Agrarian Production Organisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 482-98, June.
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