Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty in Urban China  book cover
1st Edition

Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty in Urban China

Edited By

Hiroshi Sato


Shi Li

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ISBN 9780415654661
Published November 28, 2012 by Routledge
352 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Although the Chinese economy is growing at a very high rate, there are massive social dislocations arising as a result of economic restructuring. Though the scale of the problem is huge, very few studies have examined the changes in income inequality in the late 1990s due to a lack of data on household incomes.

Based on extensive original research, this book redresses this imbalance, examining the issue of unemployment and the problems it has brought for the people of China. Investigating the market outcomes in post-reform urban China, the book focuses on the relationships between unemployment, inequality, and poverty. In addition, the authors provide an analysis on the emerging urban labour market and its stratified structure, job mobility, profit sharing, and the role of social capital. Empirical analysis is supported by rich data from nationally representative urban household and rural migrant surveys, providing the latest picture of the widening inequality in Chinese urban society.

Table of Contents

Title: Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty in Urban China


LI, Shi

Professor, Institute of Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing


SATO, Hiroshi

Professor, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo


Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables



List of contributors

Chapter 1. Introduction

Li Shi and Hiroshi Sato

Part I. Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty

Chapter 2. Labor Retrenchment in China: Determinants and Consequences

Simon Appleton, John Knight, Lina Song and Qingjie Xia

Chapter 3. Unemployment, Poverty and Income Disparity in Urban China

Jinjun Xue and Wei Zhong

Chapter 4. Economic Restructuring and Income Inequality in Urban China

Xin Meng

Chapter 5. Unemployment, Consumption Smoothing, and Precautionary Saving in Urban China

Xin Meng

Chapter 6. The Decline of In-kind Wage Payments in Urban China

Li Shi and Zhao Yaohui

Chapter 7. Rising Poverty and Its Causes in Urban China

Li Shi

Chapter 8. Can a Subjective Poverty Line be Applied to Urban China?

Bjorn Gustafsson, Li Shi, and Hiroshi Sato

Part II. The Emerging Labour Market

Chapter 9. From "Work Unit Socialism" to a Stratified Labour Market

Hiroshi Sato

Chapter 10. Contrasting paradigms: Segmentation and Competitiveness in the Formation of the Chinese Labour Market

Simon Appleton, John Knight, Lina Song and Qingjie Xia

Chapter 11. Job Mobility of Residents and Migrants in Urban China

John Knight and Linda Yueh

Chapter 12. How Does Firm Profitability Affect Wages in Urban China?

John Knight and Li Shi

Chapter 13. An Investment Model of Social Capital with Empirical Application to Women’s Labour Market Outcomes in Urban China

Linda Yueh


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LI Shi is Professor of Economics at the School of Economics and Business, Beijing Normal University. He has done research as a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford and Göteborg University, has taught as a professor at Hitotsubashi University and is the co-editor of China’s Retreat from Equality (M. E. Sharpe, 2001).

Hiroshi SATO is Professor of Chinese Economy and Society at the Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo. He is the author of The Growth of Market Relations in Post-Reform Rural China (Routledge, 2003).


'Based on a series of large-scale household surveys in a number of Chinese cities, this volume provides timely and informative studies on the issues of unemployment, inequality, poverty and their interrelationships... a collection of good quality empirical studies... this volume presents a rich and detailed profile of the urban poor in China.' - Shenjing He, China Information, vol. XXI, no. 3, 2007

'This book broadens our understanding of the functioning of the Chinese urban labour market and new urban poverty in China. Scholars and policy makers will certainly appreciate the authors' hard work' - Mark Wang, University of Melbourne, IDPR, 2009