تفاوت توسعه اقتصادی، سرمایه انسانی و تفاوت جنسیتی درآمد در چین
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|18464||2004||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Economics of Education Review, Volume 23, Issue 6, December 2004, Pages 587–603
Gender earnings differentials in China during the course of development in the post-reform period were examined. The analysis showed that the female–male earnings ratio increased over time in all regions. The region with relatively rapid economic reforms had the highest female–male earnings ratio. Decomposition of the gender earnings differential revealed that in the more developed region a lower percentage of the differential could be explained by gender differences in productive characteristics. Changes in the discriminatory component of the differential by region over time suggested that both the “competition” effect proposed by Becker [The Economics of Discrimination, 1971] and the effects of wage decentralization during economic reforms played a different role in the eastern and central regions versus their role in the western region. Further examination of the sub-components of the explained component of the differential highlighted the minor role of education in explaining the gender earnings differentials.
The rapid economic growth of China in the past two decades has stimulated a vast number of research studies of the Chinese economy at the macro level. One of the focuses has been income distribution or earnings inequality across regions of China. The coastal-led economic reform since the mid-1980s has resulted in uneven economic growth and development when comparing the coastal provinces and the provinces of the central and western regions. A study by Blau and Kahn (1994) found a positive relationship between earnings inequality and gender wage differentials in the western economies. Other studies of the same authors have pointed out two main ways in which gender wage differentials are influenced (Blau and Kahn, 1992, Blau and Kahn, 1995 and Blau and Kahn, 1997). One is the extent to which the market rewards observed and unobserved skills (changes in the overall wage structure). The other is through changes in gender-specific factors such as discrimination and relative levels of labor market skills. It is the latter aspect which is the focus of the present paper. As with other transitional economies, economic reform (and thus economic development) in China has brought about two conflicting forces affecting gender wage differentials and gender discrimination. Before the reform, an egalitarian ideology induced equal pay between males and females with similar productive characteristics. Rather equal distribution of income across gender groups was found (Meng & Miller, 1995). After the onset of the reforms, local authorities or enterprises have had greater autonomy in wage setting. The decentralization of wage setting provides room for discrimination. Numerous studies have shown that this discrimination, in practice, becomes discrimination against females or penalizing females relative to males (Brainerd, 2000, Hughes and Maurer-Fazio, 2002, Maurer-Fazio and Hughes, 2002, Ogloblin, 1999 and Rozelle, Dong, Zhang and Mason, 2002). Gender discrimination would be particularly the case if human capital characteristics were differently rewarded as a result of the marketization of the economy. The transformation from a planned economy to a market economy implies the liberalization of the economy. The breakdown of central control stimulates market competition through internal mechanisms (the relaxation of state control and the development of the private sector) and external influences (foreign competition through trade liberalization). As argued by Becker (1971), market forces may result in less gender discrimination if discrimination becomes too costly for employers to compete with those who do not discriminate against females. This argument has particularly strong implications in the Chinese economy. In fact, it is an empirical issue whether the effect of “decentralization” or that of “competition” dominates in wage setting. The primary objective of the present study is to examine the issue in transitional economies using China as an example. Extensive studies of gender wage differentials and gender discrimination can be found discussing transitional economies such as Russia and eastern European countries1 using representative national data sets. However, because of data availability, similar studies of China have used much more diverse data. Although the majority of the studies of gender earnings differentials in China use urban population samples, these studies have been limited to data from specific provinces, cities or counties, depending on the coverage of the survey conducted by the authorities. The present study attempts to improve the work reported in the literature related to the Chinese economy by examining gender earnings differentials in China using a national data set, the Urban Household Survey, 1988–1992. Another key feature of the present study is the way it addresses the effect of economic reform on earnings differentials. Previous studies of the issue in the context of the Chinese economy tested the “competition” hypothesis proposed by Becker (1971) by comparing gender earnings differentials across sectors or enterprise ownership types. Studies by Liu, Meng and Zhang, 2000, Maurer-Fazio and Hughes, 2002, Meng, 1998 and Zhao, 2002 are among the examples. The present study, however, examines the issue by taking the advantage of the extensive geographic coverage of the data set, which allows a focus on gender earnings differentials across regions which have experienced unequal pace of development. It is well documented that regional disparities in China are attributable to the economic reform, with rapid growth and development in the coastal (the eastern) region and a lagging pace of development in the non-coastal (the central and western) regions. An analysis of gender earnings differentials across regions provides a more comprehensive exploration of gender earnings differentials and gender discrimination in China in the post-reform period. Instead of a study using a single cross-sectional data set or cross-sectional data sets from two different time periods, the present study uses 5 years of cross-sectional data to examine earnings differentials between gender groups. The decomposition of earnings differentials into components attributable to differences in productive characteristics (the explained component) and differences in rewarding productive characteristics (the unexplained or the discriminatory component) will allow tracking of the changes in gender earnings differentials and gender discrimination during the process of economic development. With further decomposition of the explained component into various sub-components, the relative importance of human capital endowments and institutional changes in the labor market at a point of time and across time can be pictured. Policy implications for reducing gender earnings differentials can be formulated.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Based on the average male and female earnings figures, females in the most developed and competitive region, the eastern region, experienced no extreme pay discrimination relative to males. In fact, the female–male earnings ratio increased between 1988 and 1992 for all regions. The crude measure of the gender earnings differential (the estimated coefficient of the MALE dummy variable) indicated a male earnings premium of 5–11% in China for the study period. These figures are much lower than those found in the study of Russia in early 1990s and studies of rural China over a similar period. The general declining trend in the crude measure of the gender earnings differential in the eastern region as well as the central region implies that economic development or marketization of the economy due to economic reforms allowed females to catch up with males at a reasonable pace. Although females have maintained themselves in a reasonable position relative to males with respect to their rewards in the labor market during transition, a relatively smaller portion of the gender earnings differential can be explained by gender differences in productive characteristics. In particular, the explained component represented about half of the differential for most cases in the analysis of the eastern region. In the least developed and least reformed region (the western region), the phenomenon of gender discrimination (in terms of its proportion of the earnings differential) seemed to be less obvious. However, the generally increasing trend in the relative contribution of the discriminatory component highlights the existence of gender discrimination even in the western region. For the eastern and central regions, the contribution of the discriminatory component exhibited a U-shaped pattern when plotted against time. Based on these observations, one can argue that two conflicting forces (the “competition” effect and the decentralization in wage setting) play different roles in different stages of development and economic reform. For the more developed areas such as the eastern and central regions before 1991, the “competition” effect overrode the “decentralization” effect such that there was an improvement in gender discrimination. With further economic development and a faster pace of economic reforms, decentralization in wage setting due to marketization undermined the “competition” effect, resulting in worsening the discrimination. In the case of the western region, the slow pace of development and economic reform hindered the role played by competitive market forces in reducing gender discrimination. At the same time, decentralization in wage setting provided much more room for discrimination against females, resulting in increased gender discrimination. Further decomposing the explained component, working experience was found to be one of the most influential factors. Education played only a minor role in determining the explained portion of the gender earnings differential, even though it was found to be relatively more important (in terms of the absolute percentage) in the eastern region. Nevertheless, the declining (increasing) importance of experience (education) over time implies that rewards in the labor market tended to be more productivity-related rather than based on seniority as was the case in China before reform. The results suggest that human capital investment may not have been appropriately rewarded in China in the early 1990s. On the contrary, the importance of the occupational and enterprise ownership factors in the explained component highlights the role of labor market reform in emerging economies such as China. Economic development and economic reforms stimulated the development of the private sector, driving the labor market towards more competitive functioning. Labor mobility was also facilitated. Unlike previous findings arguing that occupational segregation in China was not an issue, the results suggest that about one-fifth of the explained component of the gender earnings differential could be attributed to gender differences in occupational distribution. Further examination of this issue in relation to gender discrimination is called for. Studies of income inequality in China9 have pointed out that inequality arises from inter-regional differences rather than intra-regional variations. The results of the decomposition presented in Table 4, Table 5 and Table 6 partially echo this finding. The importance of the provincial factor in contributing to differences in the gender earnings gap declined over time for all regions. In some years in the central region and the eastern region, as shown in Table 4, Table 5 and Table 6, most of the figures for provincial factor is negative in value. In other words, the provincial factor is indeed attributable to lowering the earnings differentials within the region. In sum, the present study addresses gender earnings differentials across regions with a focus on gender-specific factors. To gain a more thorough understanding of the issue in transitional economies, changes in the wage structure should be considered. A longer and more comprehensive time series of data would be required to facilitate future research work along such lines. Regional factors cannot be neglected in any earnings differential study of a large transitional economy such as China’s.