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Redrawing the Boundaries: Work Units and Social Stratification in Urban China

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionWu, Xiaogang. 2013. "Redrawing the Boundaries: Work Units and Social Stratification in Urban China." PSC Research Report No. 13-795. July 2013.

While work units continue to play an important role in shaping employees' economic rewards in urban China, the way organizational affiliations affect social stratification has undergone a subtle transformation and the distinctive boundaries among work units have been redrawn. Analysis of the data from the Chinese General Social Survey (2005) shows that, the boundaries exist mainly between government agencies/public institutions and enterprises: workers in the former sector enjoyed significantly higher income as well as more fringe benefits than their counterparts in the latter sector. Analyses using propensity score matching methods further identify the existence of organizational premiums (structural effect) on income for those who work in government agencies and public institutions. These findings shed new lights on the changing roles of the state and the market in social stratification in urban China.

Country of focus: China.

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