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Work Hours in Chinese Enterprises: Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data


  • Vinod Mishra
  • Russell Smyth


The purpose of this paper is to explore the factors that are correlated with hours worked in China. A distinguishing feature of the study is that we use representative matched employer and employee data. Hence, in addition to the usual worker characteristics examined in conventional economic models of labour supply, we also take account of the influence of firm characteristics and policies in influencing the number of hours worked. The results suggest that in addition to the hourly wage rate, labour supply characteristics and human capital characteristics of the individual, firm-level differences are important in explaining variation in weekly hours worked in Chinese firms. In particular, our results suggest that there is a norm of longer working hours in firms which employ a high proportion of female workers, that hours worked are less in firms which pay overtime and that hours worked are less in firms in which labour disputes have disrupted production. The implications of the results for Chinese firms wishing to improve labour management practices are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Work Hours in Chinese Enterprises: Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data," Monash Economics Working Papers 10-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2012-10

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    Cited by:

    1. Nie, Peng & Otterbach, Steffen & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2015. "Long work hours and health in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 212-229.

    More about this item


    China; hours worked; wages; firms;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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