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Wage Inequality of Chinese Rural-Urban Migrants Between 2002 and 2007

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  • Zhong Zhao
  • Zhaopeng Qu

Abstract

The paper studies the levels and changes in wage inequality among Chinese rural-urban migrants from 2002 to 2007. We use the Chinese Household Income Project dataset and the Rural to Urban Migration in China dataset to construct a unique dataset that allows us to document changing wage inequality among migrants and among urban natives between 2002 and 2007. We find that wage inequality among migrants decreased significantly between 2002 and 2007, whereas it increased among urban natives during the same period. Our results show that the high-wage migrants experienced slower wage growth than middle- and low-wage migrants, a primary cause of declining inequality among migrants. We used distributional decomposition methods, and find that the overall between-group effect (coefficient effect) dominates in the whole wage distribution of the migrants, which means that the change in returns to the characteristics (education and experience) play a key role, but on the upper tails of the wage distribution, the within group effect (residual price effect) dominates which implies that the unobservable factors or institutional barriers do not favor the migrants at the top tail of the wage distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhong Zhao & Zhaopeng Qu, 2013. "Wage Inequality of Chinese Rural-Urban Migrants Between 2002 and 2007," Working Papers PMMA 2013-04, PEP-PMMA.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:pmmacr:2013-04
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    File URL: https://portal.pep-net.org/documents/download/id/20851
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1999. "The Rural-Urban Divide: Economic Disparities and Interactions in China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293309.
    2. Meng, Xin & Shen, Kailing & Xue, Sen, 2013. "Economic reform, education expansion, and earnings inequality for urban males in China, 1988–2009," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 227-244.
    3. John Knight & Linda Yueh, 2009. "Segmentation or competition in China's urban labour market?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 79-94, January.
    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. Dandan Zhang & Xin Meng & Dewen Wang, 2010. "The Dynamic Change in Wage Gap between Urban Residents and Rural Migrants in Chinese Cities," Working Papers PMMA 2010-03, PEP-PMMA.
    6. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
    7. Zhaopeng Frank Qu & Zhong Zhao, 2014. "Evolution of the Chinese rural-urban migrant labor market from 2002 to 2007," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(2), pages 316-334, April.
    8. Xiaobo Zhang & Kevin Honglin Zhang, 2002. "Regional Inequality," Chapters,in: The Globalization of the Chinese Economy, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Denise Hare, 1999. "'Push' versus 'pull' factors in migration outflows and returns: Determinants of migration status and spell duration among China's rural population," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(3), pages 45-72.
    10. Xing, Chunbing & Li, Shi, 2012. "Residual wage inequality in urban China, 1995–2007," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 205-222.
    11. Hare, Denise, 2002. "The Determinants of Job Location and Its Effect on Migrants' Wages: Evidence from Rural China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(3), pages 557-579, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    rural to urban migrants; wage inequality; quantity decomposition; China;

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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