Outsider Ethnic Minorities and Wage Determination in China

International Labour Review 158(3): 489-508, 2019

21 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2015 Last revised: 14 Oct 2019

See all articles by Andrew W. MacDonald

Andrew W. MacDonald

University of Louisville - Center for Asian Democracy

Reza Hasmath

University of Alberta - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

The literature on ethnic minorities in China has a significant puzzle: in some studies, urban minorities perceive lower wages relative to the majority Han, while in other studies there is little to no evidence of this wage gap. There is not a clear theoretical expectation as to how these findings could simultaneously be true suggesting that new theory-building is necessary. We propose that the primary issue, and a potential solution, is the failure to fully disaggregate ethnic minority groups’ labour market experiences. We leverage a new, large dataset solely looking at ethnic minorities in China to explore this divergence. Our results suggest outsider minorities, e.g. Tibetans and Turkic groups, have a 20-25 percent wage penalty controlling for covariates, while minorities in aggregate do not appear to have a significant wage gap. These findings are robust across several different specifications, and have notable theoretical and policy implications.

Keywords: Ethnic Minorities, Jobs, Wages, China

Suggested Citation

MacDonald, Andrew W. and Hasmath, Reza, Outsider Ethnic Minorities and Wage Determination in China (2019). International Labour Review 158(3): 489-508, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2612684 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2612684

Andrew W. MacDonald

University of Louisville - Center for Asian Democracy ( email )

Stevenson Hall, Room 202
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
United States

Reza Hasmath (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Political Science ( email )

10-16 Henry Marshall Tory Building
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4
Canada

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