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Marketization, Occupational Segregation, and Gender Earnings Inequality in Urban China

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionHe, Guangye, and Xiaogang Wu. 2016. "Marketization, Occupational Segregation, and Gender Earnings Inequality in Urban China." PSC Research Report No. 16-873. 12 2016.

This paper analyzes a large sample of the 2005 population mini-census data and prefecture-level statistics of China to investigate gender earnings inequality in the context of economic marketization, paying special attention to the changing role of occupational segregation in the process. We approximate marketization by employment sectors and also construct an index of marketization at the prefecture level. Results show that, despite the tremendous economic growth, marketization has exacerbated gender earnings inequality in urban China's labor markets. Gender earnings inequality is the smallest in government/public institutions, followed by public enterprises, and then private enterprises. The gender inequality also increases with the prefecture's level of marketization. Multilevel analyses show that occupational segregation plays an important role in affecting gender earnings inequality: the greater the occupational segregation, the more disadvantaged women are relative to men in earnings in a prefecture's labor market. Moreover, the impact of occupational segregation on gender earnings inequality increases with the prefectural level of marketization. These findings contribute to understanding the dynamics of gender earnings inequality and have important implications for policy to promote gender equality in urban China.

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