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

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  • Sandeep Mohapatra
  • Scott Rozelle
  • Jikun Huang

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandeep Mohapatra & Scott Rozelle & Jikun Huang, 2006. "Climbing the development ladder: Economic development and the evolution of occupations in rural China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(6), pages 1023-1055.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:6:p:1023-1055
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380600774988
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1988. "Economic organization, information, and development," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 93-160 Elsevier.
    2. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1986. "Access to Capital and Agrarian Production Organisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 482-498, June.
    3. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    4. de Brauw, Alan & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott & Zhang, Linxiu & Zhang, Yigang, 2002. "The Evolution of China's Rural Labor Markets During the Reforms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 329-353, June.
    5. World Bank, 2001. "China : Overcoming Rural Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13902.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Xiaobing, 2007. "Labor market behavior of Chinese rural households during transition," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 42, number 92321.
    2. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing, 2007. "Land rental markets in the process of rural structural transformation : productivity and equity impacts in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4454, The World Bank.
    3. de Brauw, Alan & Rozelle, Scott, 2008. "Migration and household investment in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 320-335, June.

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