IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp5008.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Rising Wages: Has China Lost Its Global Labor Advantage?

Author

Listed:
  • Yang, Dennis T.

    () (University of Virginia)

  • Chen, Vivian

    () (The Conference Board)

  • Monarch, Ryan

    () (University of Michigan)

Abstract

We document dramatic rising wages in China for the period 1978-2007 based on multiple sources of aggregate statistics. Although real wages increased seven-fold during the period, growth was uneven across ownership types, industries and regions. Since the late 1990s, the wages of state-owned enterprises have increased rapidly and wage disparities between skill-intensive and labor-intensive industries have widened. Comparisons of international data show that China's manufacturing wage has already converged to that of Asian emerging markets, but China still enjoys enormous labor cost advantages over its neighboring developed economies. Our analysis suggests that China's wage growth will stabilize to a moderate pace in the near future.

Suggested Citation

  • Yang, Dennis T. & Chen, Vivian & Monarch, Ryan, 2010. "Rising Wages: Has China Lost Its Global Labor Advantage?," IZA Discussion Papers 5008, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5008
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp5008.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Yang, Dennis Tao, 2005. "Determinants of schooling returns during transition: Evidence from Chinese cities," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 244-264, June.
    2. Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2004. "Fifty Years of Regional Inequality in China: A Journey through Central Planning, Reform, and Openness," WIDER Working Paper Series 050, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Wan, Guanghua & Lu, Ming & Chen, Zhao, 2006. "Globalization and Regional Income Inequality: Empirical evidence from within China," WIDER Working Paper Series 139, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Sylvie Démurger & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo & Shuming Bao & Gene Chang & Andrew Mellinger, 2002. "Geography, Economic Policy, and Regional Development in China," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 146-197.
    5. John Knight & Jinjun Xue, 2006. "How High is Urban Unemployment in China?," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 91-107.
    6. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
    7. Yang, Dennis Tao, 2002. "What has caused regional inequality in China?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 331-334, December.
    8. Guanghua Wan & Ming Lu & Zhao Chen, 2007. "Globalization And Regional Income Inequality: Empirical Evidence From Within China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(1), pages 35-59, March.
    9. 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.
    10. Fleisher, Belton M. & Sabirianova, Klara & Wang, Xiaojun, 2005. "Returns to skills and the speed of reforms: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe, China, and Russia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 351-370, June.
    11. Zhang, Junsen & Zhao, Yaohui & Park, Albert & Song, Xiaoqing, 2005. "Economic returns to schooling in urban China, 1988 to 2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 730-752, December.
    12. Haiyan Deng & Robert H. McGuckin & John C. Haltiwanger & Xu Jianyi & Liu Yaodong & Liu Yuqi, 2007. "The Contribution of Restructuring and Reallocation to China's Productivity and Growth," Economics Program Working Papers 07-04, The Conference Board, Economics Program.
    13. Giles, John & Park, Albert & Zhang, Juwei, 2005. "What is China's true unemployment rate?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 149-170.
    14. F. Gerard Adams & Byron Gangnes & Yochanan Shachmurove, 2006. "Why is China so Competitive? Measuring and Explaining China's Competitiveness," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 95-122, February.
    15. Ravi Kanbur & Xiaobo Zhang, 2005. "Fifty Years of Regional Inequality in China: a Journey Through Central Planning, Reform, and Openness," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 87-106, February.
    16. Liu, Zhiqiang, 1998. "Earnings, Education, and Economic Reforms in Urban China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(4), pages 697-725, July.
    17. Vivian W. Chen & Harry X. Wu & Bart van Ark, 2009. "More Costly Or More Productive? Measuring Changes In Competitiveness In Manufacturing Across Regions In China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(s1), pages 514-537, July.
    18. John Giles & Albert Park & Fang Cai, 2003. "How has Economic Restructuring Affected China???s Urban Workers?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-628, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    19. Zhao, Yaohui, 2001. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: The case of China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 40-57.
    20. Richard B. Freeman & Remco Oostendorp, 2000. "Wages Around the World: Pay Across Occupations and Countries," NBER Working Papers 8058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Li, Haizheng, 2003. "Economic transition and returns to education in China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 317-328, June.
    22. Dong, Xiao-Yuan & Putterman, Louis, 2003. "Soft budget constraints, social burdens, and labor redundancy in China's state industry," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 110-133, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage growth; aggregate statistics; China; international comparison;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.