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The Impact of China’s New Labour Contract Law On Socioeconomic Outcomes for Migrant and Urban Workers


  • Zhiming Cheng
  • Russell Smyth
  • Fei Guo


This paper examines the effect of having a labour contract on a range of employee outcomes (hours worked, social insurance coverage, subjective wellbeing and wages) for a sample of urban and migrant workers in China. A methodological contribution is that we use propensity score matching, which allows us to draw causal inferences about the relationship between having a labour contract and each of these variables. We find that the effect of having a labour contract on employee outcomes is generally large and larger than the findings in other studies suggest. As such, our results suggest that China’s Labour Contract Law, which has made signing labour contracts mandatory, has been effective in improving the outcomes for Chinese workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhiming Cheng & Russell Smyth & Fei Guo, 2013. "The Impact of China’s New Labour Contract Law On Socioeconomic Outcomes for Migrant and Urban Workers," Monash Economics Working Papers 51-13, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2013-51

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    1. repec:eee:ecmode:v:71:y:2018:i:c:p:220-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Enying Zheng & Simon Deakin, 2016. "Pricing Labour Capacity: The Unexpected Effects of Formalizing Employment Contracts in China," Working Papers wp479, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    3. Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Smyth, Russell, 2017. "Ethnic Diversity and Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 285-302.
    4. repec:spr:soinre:v:139:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1471-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. You, Jing & Wang, Shaoyang, 2018. "Unemployment duration and job-match quality in urban China: The dynamic impact of 2008 Labor Contract Law," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 220-233.
    6. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1329-y is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-015-1214-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Qin Gao & Sui Yang & Fuhua Zhai & Yake Wang, 2017. "Social Policy Reforms and Economic Distances in China, 2002-2013," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 201722, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).

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