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Returns to Schooling in China Under Planning and Reform

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  • Belton M. Fleisher

    ()

  • Xiaojun Wang

    ()

Abstract

We estimate returns to schooling using a retrospective work history survey covering more than 4,000 workers over the period 1950 to 1994, with particular emphasis to the returns to schooling for workers who attended institutes of higher education and who graduated from college. We find evidence that schooling returns declined throughout the period leading up to the Cultural Revolution (CR), with returns for workers who did not attend college becoming negligible. Returns to those with some college education remained positive, but low compared to other countries. Consistent with other studies, we find that returns to schooling did not recover from their CR low until the 1990s. Increases in the return to schooling during the transition following the CR were not associated directly with workers changing jobs or with taking ???new-economy??? jobs but appear to have occurred for most workers across all ownership categories. Workers most likely to leave jobs in the traditional ownership sector for jobs in the private or jointventure categories were those who entered the labor force prior to 1967. We do not find evidence supporting other studies??? finding that schooling returns for college graduates increased more than for workers with lower levels of schooling attainment.

Suggested Citation

  • Belton M. Fleisher & Xiaojun Wang, 2004. "Returns to Schooling in China Under Planning and Reform," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-704, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2004-704
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fleisher, Belton M. & Chen, Jian, 1997. "The Coast-Noncoast Income Gap, Productivity, and Regional Economic Policy in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 220-236, October.
    2. Daniel Münich & Jan Svejnar & Katherine Terrell, 2005. "Returns to Human Capital Under The Communist Wage Grid and During the Transition to a Market Economy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 100-123, February.
    3. 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.
    4. James J. Heckman & Xuesong Li, 2004. "Selection bias, comparative advantage and heterogeneous returns to education: evidence from China in 2000," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 155-171, October.
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    8. Fleisher, Belton M. & Wang, Xiaojun, 2004. "Skill differentials, return to schooling, and market segmentation in a transition economy: the case of Mainland China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 315-328, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    returns to schooling; skills; China;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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