Post-industrial economic restructuring and wage inequality in urban China, 2003–2015: A sectoral perspective

Fan Fiona YANG, Zhiyong HU, Yuhua WANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

Income inequality in urban China has attracted growing attention from China's urban researchers and policy makers. Whereas many studies have interrogated the pattern and process of the income gap in Chinese cities undergoing the institutional transformation from plan to market, relatively little is known about how such unequal distribution of income is related to China's ongoing structural transformation toward a post-industrial economy. Drawing on a decomposition methodology based on the Theil index, this study aimed to address this lacuna through an empirical investigation of China's urban wage inequality from a sectoral perspective. Our empirical study identified the low-wage manufacturing sector and the high-wage producer services sector as the two biggest contributors to urban wage inequality in China. Urban wage inequality within the producer services was found to be caused by the spatial concentration of a disproportionate number of high-paying jobs in a few developed, high-tier city-regions on the eastern coast. Our empirical findings have important implications for the formulation of policies to address the income inequality that plagues China's continuing urbanization. Copyright © 2020 Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-531
JournalChinese Geographical Science
Volume30
Issue number3
Early online dateJul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Citation

Yang, F. F., Hu, F. Z., & Wang, Y. (2020). Post-industrial economic restructuring and wage inequality in urban China, 2003–2015: A sectoral perspective. Chinese Geographical Science, 30(3), 516-531. doi: 10.1007/s11769-020-1125-0

Keywords

  • Wage inequality
  • Post-industrial economy
  • Economic restructuring
  • Producer service
  • Urban China

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