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Rent sharing in China: Magnitude, heterogeneity and drivers

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  • Duan, Wenjing
  • Martins, Pedro S.

Abstract

Do firms in China share rents with their workers? We address this question by examining firm-level panel data covering virtually all manufacturing firms over the period 2000-2007, representing an average of 52 million workers per year. We find evidence of rent sharing (RS), with wage-profit elasticies of between 4% and 6%. These results are based on multiple instrumental variables, including firm-specific international trade shocks. We also present a number of complementary findings to understand better the nature of RS in the country: it involves an element of risk sharing, as wages also decrease when profits fall; RS is lower in regions with more latent competition from rural workers; higher minimum wages tend to reduce RS; and, while employer labour market power reduces wages, it increases RS. Overall, despite its importance, RS in China is smaller and more symmetric than in developed economies, which re ects the weaker bargaining power of its workers and the different nature of its labour market institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Duan, Wenjing & Martins, Pedro S., 2020. "Rent sharing in China: Magnitude, heterogeneity and drivers," GLO Discussion Paper Series 448, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:448
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    Cited by:

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    2. Cabral, Sónia & Martins, Pedro S. & Pereira dos Santos, João & Tavares, Mariana, 2018. "Collateral Damage? Labour Market Effects of Competing with China – at Home and Abroad," IZA Discussion Papers 11790, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Dai, Li & Martins, Pedro S., 2020. "Does vocational education pay off in China? Instrumental-variable quantile-regression evidence," GLO Discussion Paper Series 495, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Quint Wiersma, 2019. "The impact of WTO accession on Chinese firms' product and labor market power," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-037/V, Tinbergen Institute.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wages; Bargaining; Monopsony;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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