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Contrasting paradigms: segmentation and competitiveness in the formation of the chinese labour market

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  • Simon Appleton
  • John Knight
  • Lina Song
  • Qingjie Xia

Abstract

An urban labour market is in the process of being formed in China. The objective of this paper is to analyse the stage that it has reached. A 1999 household survey is used to investigate whether the labour market has three tiers comprised of recently retrenched and re-employed urban workers, non-retrenched urban workers, and rural-urban migrants. It tests whether wage levels and structures differ across these categories of worker. Panel data are used to model the evolution of the wage structure and, specifically, the impact of retrenchment and re-employment. The results indicate that non-retrenched urban workers enjoy a wage premium, although migrants receive similar returns to education. Re-employed workers receive no return to education and appear to have lost out on the wage rises enjoyed by the non-retrenched. There is evidence to suggest that the urban labour market is segmented into these categories, which differ in their openness to market competition. The urban labour market has a long way to go before it is fully competitive.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Appleton & John Knight & Lina Song & Qingjie Xia, 2004. "Contrasting paradigms: segmentation and competitiveness in the formation of the chinese labour market," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(3), pages 185-205.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jocebs:v:2:y:2004:i:3:p:185-205
    DOI: 10.1080/1476528042000276141
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Knight & Lina Song & Jia Huaibin, 1999. "Chinese rural migrants in urban enterprises: Three perspectives," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(3), pages 73-104.
    2. Bruce C. Fallick, 1996. "A Review of the Recent Empirical Literature on Displaced Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 5-16, October.
    3. Dong, Xiao-yuan & Bowles, Paul, 2002. "Segmentation and discrimination in China's emerging industrial labor market," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 170-196.
    4. John Knight & Lina Song, 2003. "Increasing urban wage inequality in China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(4), pages 597-619, December.
    5. Stephen Nickell & Patricia Jones & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "A Picture of Job Insecurity Facing British Men," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 1-27, January.
    6. Appleton, Simon & Knight, John & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2002. "Labor retrenchment in China: Determinants and consequences," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 252-275.
    7. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1999. "Employment Constraints and Sub-optimality in Chinese Enterprises," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 284-299, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Démurger, Sylvie & Gurgand, Marc & Li, Shi & Yue, Ximing, 2009. "Migrants as second-class workers in urban China? A decomposition analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 610-628, December.
    2. Périsse, Muriel, 2009. "Chine : une transition salariale à hauts risques," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 6.
    3. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2005. "Has China crossed the river? The evolution of wage structure in urban China during reform and retrenchment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 644-663, December.
    4. Gordon Betcherman & Niels-Hugo Blunch, 2008. "The limited job prospects of displaced workers: evidence from two cities in China," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 187-207, September.
    5. Simon Appleton & John Knight & Lina Song & Qingjie Xia, 2009. "The Economics of Communist Party Membership: The Curious Case of Rising Numbers and Wage Premium during China's Transition," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 256-275.
    6. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2014. "Understanding Urban Wage Inequality in China 1988–2008: Evidence from Quantile Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1-13.
    7. John KNIGHT, 2008. "Reform, Growth, and Inequality in China," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 3(1), pages 140-158.
    8. Golley, Jane & Meng, Xin, 2011. "Has China run out of surplus labour?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 555-572.
    9. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina, 2008. "Life Satisfaction in Urban China: Components and Determinants," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2325-2340, November.
    10. John Knight & Linda Yueh, 2004. "Urban Insiders versus Rural Outsiders: Complementarity or Competition in China`s Urban Labour Market?," Economics Series Working Papers 217, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    11. John Knight, 2014. "Inequality in China: An Overview," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 29(1), pages 1-19.
    12. Qingjie Xia & Lina Song & Shi Li & Simon Appleton, 2014. "The effect of the state sector on wage inequality in urban China: 1988--2007," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 29-45, February.
    13. Xiaobing Wang & Jenifer Piesse & Nick Weaver, 2011. "Mind the gaps: a political economy of the multiple dimensions of China’s rural–urban divide," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 15211, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    14. Knight, John & Deng, Quheng & Li, Shi, 2017. "China’s expansion of higher education: The labour market consequences of a supply shock," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 127-141.
    15. Y. Ge & H. Lehmann, 2013. "The Costs of Worker Displacement in Urban Labor Markets of China," Working Papers wp876, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    16. Messinis, George, 2013. "Returns to education and urban-migrant wage differentials in China: IV quantile treatment effects," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 39-55.
    17. Sylvie Démurger & Marc Gurgand & Li Shi & Yue Ximing, 2008. "Migrants as second-class workers in urban China? A decomposition analysis," Working Papers halshs-00586783, HAL.
    18. Liu, Yang, 2012. "Does Internal Immigration Always Lead to Urban Unemployment in Emerging Economies? : A Structural Approach Based on Data from China," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 53(1), pages 85-105, June.
    19. Gustafsson, Björn Anders & Quheng, Deng, 2007. "Social Assistance Receipt and its Importance for Combating Poverty in Urban China," IZA Discussion Papers 2758, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Knight, John & Li, Shi, 2006. "Unemployment duration and earnings of re-employed workers in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 103-119.
    21. Xiaobing Wang & Jenifer Piesse & Nick Weaver, 2013. "Mind the gaps: a political economy of the multiple dimensions of China's rural–urban divide," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 27(2), pages 52-67, November.
    22. Nielsen, Ingrid & Smyth, Russell, 2008. "Who wants safer cities? Perceptions of public safety and attitudes to migrants among China's urban population," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 46-55, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Chinese labour market; retrenchment; unemployment; re-employment; wages; migration; JEL classifications: J31; J42; O15; P23;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population

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