Market Transition and the Deinstitutionalization of Standard Work Hours in Post-Socialist China

TitleMarket Transition and the Deinstitutionalization of Standard Work Hours in Post-Socialist China
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsCao, Yang, and Rubin, Beth A.
JournalILR Review
Volume67
Issue3
Pagination864 - 890
Date Published2014///
KeywordsChina, institutional change, standard work hours, work hours
Abstract

The authors investigate the relationship between market transition and work hours in urban China. Regression analysis of data from the 2006 Chinese General Social Survey reveals a negative relationship between economic marketization, measured at the province level, and the likelihood that an employee works standard hours. Standard hours are less common among those working for smaller employers, which are less subject to outside scrutiny. This relationship between employer size and standard hours is stronger in more marketized regions. These findings support the authors’ argument that standard work hours are deinstitutionalized as employers strive for low cost and flexibility in China’s increasingly marketized but poorly regulated economy. Comparisons of the Chinese experience with recent trends in the United States reveal remarkable similarities in the weakening of social employment contracts precipitated by the ascendency of markets and the systematic disempowering of labor.