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Danwei Profitability and Earnings Inequality in Urban China

Authors Xie, Yu HKUST affiliated (currently or previously).
Wu, Xiaogang View this author's profile
Issue Date 2008
Source China Quarterly , (195), 2008, Sep, p. 558-581
Summary Prior research has debated the relative importance of such factors as human capital, political capital and region in determining workers' earnings in reform-era urban China. This article argues that a main agent of social stratification in contemporary China continues to be the danwei, the work unit. Using data from a 1999 survey we conducted in three large Chinese cities, Wuhan, Shanghai and Xi'an, we assess the extent to which workers' earnings (including regular wages, bonuses and subsidies) depend on the profitability of their danwei. Results show that the financial situation of the danwei is one of the most important determinants of earnings in today's urban China. Furthermore, the importance of danwei profitability does not vary by city or by employment sector. © 2008 The China Quarterly.
ISSN 0305-7410
Rights © Cambridge University Press 2008. This paper was published in the China Quarterly and is reprinted with permission.
Language English
Format Article
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