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Gender Wage Gaps in China's Labor Market: Size, Structure, Trends

Margaret Maurer-Fazio (), Thomas Rawski and Wei Zhang

No 88, William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series from William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan

Abstract: Chinese attitudes toward the treatment of men and women in the workplace reflect two divergent perspectives. The legacy of China's past includes a strong tendency to favor male over female workers, while over the last four decades China's government has vigorously propagated an ideology of gender equality. This paper applies econometric methods to a large body of data on average wages and the number and share of female employees to investigate disparities between men's and women's wages in China's urban, formal labor markets during the period 1988-1994. Our results demonstrate the presence of substantial, persistent, and large (relative to available international comparisons) gaps between men's and women's wages in the People's Republic of China during this period. We find no evidence of a tendency for the gap between male and female wages to decline. On the contrary, calculations based on the whole data set and on data for state and collective employers all indicate expanding inequality between men's and women's earnings.

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Date: 1997-06-01
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