Climbing the Development Ladder: Economic Development and the Evolution of Occupations in Rural China
Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 42, No. 6, August 2006
Posted: 16 Aug 2006
We study how occupations evolve across space and time during the development of an economy. Using a data set on more than 200 villages from 8 provinces in China, we examine the main occupations that have characterised China's labour markets since the economic reforms. Our findings reveal a systematic evolutionary pattern of occupational emergence: the evolution of occupations proceeds from traditional and fairly simple forms of subsistence agriculture to modern, more complex manufacturing and service firms. Our findings suggest that rural development in China is being built by a process that can be described by the climbing of a development ladder with each step up the ladder denoting the economy's transition into a more complex occupational regime.
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