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Firm Response to Competitive Shocks: Evidence from China’s Minimum Wage Policy

Author

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  • Harald Hau

    (University of Geneva, GSEM, Geneva Finance Research Institute)

  • Yi Huang

    (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)

  • Gewei Wang

    (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)

Abstract

The large regional variation of minimum wage changes in 2002—08 implies that Chinese manufacturing firms experienced competitive shocks as a function of firm location and their low-wage employment share. We find that minimum wage hikes accelerate the input substitution from labor to capital in low-wage firms, reduce employment growth, but also accelerate total factor productivity growth–particularly among the less productive firms under private Chinese or foreign ownership, but not among state-owned enterprises. The heterogeneous firm response to labor cost shocks can be explained by differences in governance or management practice, but is difficult to reconcile with the idea that competitive pressure is a substitute for governance quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Harald Hau & Yi Huang & Gewei Wang, 2016. "Firm Response to Competitive Shocks: Evidence from China’s Minimum Wage Policy," IHEID Working Papers 08-2016, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp08-2016
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Harasztosi & Attila Lindner, 2019. "Who Pays for the Minimum Wage?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(8), pages 2693-2727, August.
    2. Wang, Feicheng & Liang, Zhe & Lehmann, Hartmut, 2021. "Import Competition and Informal Employment: Empirical Evidence from China," IZA Discussion Papers 14650, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Dosi, Giovanni & Virgillito, Maria Enrica & Yu, Xiaodan, 2020. "The wage-productivity nexus in the world factory economy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    4. Xiaoping Li & Shuzhou Peng & Wei‐Chiao Huang & Qian Zhou, 2022. "What Drives Chinese Firms' Export Sophistication? A Perspective from the Rise of Minimum Wages," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 30(2), pages 28-59, March.
    5. Kong, Dongmin & Qin, Ni & Xiang, Junyi, 2021. "Minimum wage and entrepreneurship: Evidence from China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 320-336.
    6. Yuci Chen, 2019. "What Do Establishments Do When Wages Increase? Evidence from Minimum Wages in the United States," Working Papers 19-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Bai, Xue & Chatterjee, Arpita & Krishna, Kala & Ma, Hong, 2021. "Trade and minimum wages in general equilibrium: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    8. Huang,Zhangkai & Liu,Jinyu & Ma,Guangrong & Xu,L. Colin, 2020. "The Transformative Effects of Privatization in China : A Natural Experiment Based on Politician Career Concern," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9261, The World Bank.
    9. Gilbert Cette & Jimmy Lopez & Jacques Mairesse & Giuseppe Nicoletti, 2020. "Economic Adjustment during the Great Recession: The Role of Managerial Quality," NBER Working Papers 27954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Fan, Haichao & Lin, Faqin & Tang, Lixin, 2018. "Minimum Wage and Outward FDI from China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 1-19.
    11. Clement Imbert & Marlon Seror & Yifan Zhang & Stephan Yanos Zylberberg, 2018. "Migrants and Firms: Evidence from China," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 19/713, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    12. Huang, Yi & Sheng, Liugang & Wang, Gewei, 2021. "How did rising labor costs erode China’s global advantage?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 632-653.
    13. Orley Ashenfelter & Stepan Jurajda Jurajda, 2021. "Wages, Minimum Wages, and Price Pass-Through: The Case of McDonald's Restaurants," Working Papers 646, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    14. Hou, Qingsong & Tang, Xiaofang & Teng, Min, 2021. "Labor costs and financialization of real sectors in emerging markets," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    15. Jin, Zhangfeng, 2021. "The Legacies of the Soviet Influence in the 1950s: China's 156 Major Industrial Projects," GLO Discussion Paper Series 932, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    16. Daniel Aaronson & Brian J. Phelan, 2020. "The Evolution of Technological Substitution in Low-Wage Labor Markets," Working Paper Series WP-2020-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, revised 01 Mar 2022.
    17. Fan, Haichao & Hu, Yichuan & Tang, Lixin, 2021. "Labor costs and the adoption of robots in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 186(C), pages 608-631.
    18. Chu, Angus C. & Furukawa, Yuichi & Kou, Zonglai & Liu, Xueyue, 2019. "Effects of Minimum Wage on Import and Innovation: Theory and Evidence from China," MPRA Paper 97008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Liu, Hang & Luo, Jin-hui & Wang, Xin, 2021. "Do controlling shareholders expropriate employees? Evidence from workplace fatalities in China," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Firm productivity; capital investment; minimum wage policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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