1887

OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

China's Labour Market in Transition

Job Creation, Migration and Regulation

Over the past decade, the share of jobs not controlled by the state has increased considerably, whilst employment in agriculture has declined, against the backdrop of ongoing urbanisation. Over 200 million people have been drawn into urban areas through official or unofficial migration, despite various obstacles to labour mobility, including the registration system and the associated restrictions to social service access. New labour laws were introduced in 2008 to better protect employees in a market now dominated by private-sector employers, notably via more systematic use of and adherence to written labour contracts, in particular of indefinite duration ones. To what extent the new legislation and implementing regulations will be enforced remains to be seen. For the time being, de facto employment protection is far less than de jure, with an enduring preponderance of fixed-term contracts, involving few restrictions. Minimum wages are set locally and have not kept up with average wages, nor are they effectively enforced. During the recent slowdown, average wages adjusted rapidly and employment was soon on the rise again. However, this episode also highlighted the need to integrate migrants better, not least by relaxing registration rules.

English

Keywords: urbanisation, access, labour market, unemployment, employment, contracts, social services, minimum wage, hukou, China
JEL: R23: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics / Household Analysis / Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics; J71: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Discrimination / Labor Discrimination; J31: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs / Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials; J61: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers; J21: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure; J63: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Labor Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs; J82: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Standards: National and International / Labor Standards: Labor Force Composition; J42: Labor and Demographic Economics / Particular Labor Markets / Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets; K31: Law and Economics / Other Substantive Areas of Law / Labor Law; O53: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economywide Country Studies / Economywide Country Studies: Asia including Middle East; E24: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy / Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity; P23: Economic Systems / Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies / Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies: Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population; J23: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Labor Demand; J83: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Standards: National and International / Labor Standards: Workers' Rights; J41: Labor and Demographic Economics / Particular Labor Markets / Labor Contracts; J24: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity; J65: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
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