Evolution of the Interindustry Wage Structure in China Since the 1980s

TitleEvolution of the Interindustry Wage Structure in China Since the 1980s
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsKwon, Ohyun, Chang, Simon, and Fleisher, Belton M.
JournalPacific Economic Review
Pagination17 - 44
Date Published2015///
KeywordsChina, pay scale, wage dispersion, wage structure

Industry mean wages in China have exhibited sharply increased dispersion since the early1990s. Researchers have attributed this rising inequality within the industrial wage structure to: (i) increasingly competitive labour markets leading to better matches between worker pay, worker skills and employer demands; or (ii) residual government control in some industrial sectors that has generated high wages through monopoly rent sharing. We argue that the rise in China's industrial wage dispersion is primarily attributable to increasingly competitive labour markets, which have led to greater returns to schooling and to efficient redistribution of workers across major industry groups. We cannot reject the null hypothesis that the level or changes in government monopoly power has had negligible impact on China's rising industrial wage dispersion.