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Inequality Matters in Transitional China: The Hukou System, Class Structure, and Stratification Outcomes - as part of our Sociology job talks

The CEU Campus
Monday, April 8, 2019, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

The Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology cordially invites you to the following Sociology job talk:

“Inequality Matters in Transitional China: The Hukou System, Class Structure, and Stratification Outcomes”: China has experienced a massive transformation in social stratification over the past four decades. As China moves towards marketization and capitalism, scholars disagree over whether state or market mechanisms play a more prominent role in transitional China. Power persistence theory emphasizes the continuing power of the socialist state in the transitional period, while market transition theory highlights the rise of market forces in the capitalist economy. In this research, I further examine the relative influence of state forces, which is the long-standing hukou system, and market forces, which is the emerging class structure in the determination of earnings in transitional China. Given the complexity of the evolving hukou system in the transitional periods, I develop a typology of hukou stratification with nine categories based on four dimensions. Moreover, I construct a 23-category class scheme for transitional China combining Wright’s (2000) 12-class framework of Western capitalist societies and on the characteristics embedded in China’s historical social structure in the pre-reform era. Using the 2008-2013 Chinese General Social Survey, I apply fixed-effects Ordinary Least Squares regressions and sheaf coefficients to investigate the effects of hukou stratification and class structure on workers’ earnings. The findings reveal that both the hukou system and the class system are strong determinants of earnings. More specifically, class structure has the strongest impact on earnings. Moreover, the results also indicate regional differences in the effects of the hukou system and class structure.