JOB PLACEMENT AND JOB SHIFT ACROSS EMPLOYMENT SECTORS IN CHINA: THE EFFECTS OF EDUCATION, FAMILY BACKGROUND, AND GENDER

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2006-08-28

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This dissertation investigates the impact of the market-oriented economic reform in China on one aspect of the labor market outcomes--individuals' access to different employment sectors, that is, the state and collective sector, the private sector, and the sector of family contract farming. Using the first wave (1989) and the fourth wave (1997) of the CHNS data, this study examines the effects of education, family background, and gender on the job placement among the employment sectors for young workers (age 17 to 24) and the job shifts across the employment sectors for older workers (age 25 to 44). The change of these effects on young workers' job placement from 1989 to 1997 is also examined.

It is found that education is important in determining young workers' employment sectors and older workers' destination of employment sector if they change jobs, and the better-educated workers are more likely to work in the state and collective sector. The social capital effect of family background overwhelms the practice of risk diversification and young workers are more likely to work in the employment sector in which they have some family connections. While young women have some advantage in entering the private sector than young men, older married women are disadvantaged in transferring to the private sector than older married men and women farmers are less likely to leave the family farm than male farmers.

The findings suggest that the access to different employment sectors is not equally distributed among Chinese workers. The hierarchy of employment sectors is reproduced through the procedure that assorts individual workers to different employment sectors. In addition to achieved characteristics such as human capital, ascribed characteristics such as family background and gender are important factors in understanding the procedure of social stratification in the reform-era.

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