Global city development and urban wage inequality in China

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This study stress-tests the hypothesized relationship between global city status and the level of urban inequality in the context of China's globalizing cities. Based on a multi-level modelling analysis of the wage effect of Chinese cities' global connectivity, this study identifies a “global connectivity wage premium” for professional occupations, urban individuals with post-graduate degrees, and producer service workers in Chinese cities, as well as a “global connectivity wage discrimination” for clerks and manual workers, urban individuals with no bachelor degree, and consumer service workers. The results confirm the positive association between the degree of global cityness and the level of wage inequality in globalizing China and suggest the presence of mechanisms specific to the Chinese case that undermine the city-wide spillover effects of high-skilled labor forces in globally oriented sectors. It echoes the recent call for “provincializing” global city studies and highlights an additional source of inequality in relation to China's unrelenting trajectory toward a rising role in the world city network. Copyright © 2020 Hong Kong Geographical Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-91
JournalAsian Geographer
Issue number1
Early online dateMay 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Hu, F. Z. Y. (2021). Global city development and urban wage inequality in China. Asian Geographer, 38(1), 73-91. doi: 10.1080/10225706.2020.1750440


  • Global city
  • Wage inequality
  • Global connectivity
  • Wage premium
  • China


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