An investigation in China on employment change between formal and informal sector: patterns, perceptions and achievements

Liang, Zhe (2018) An investigation in China on employment change between formal and informal sector: patterns, perceptions and achievements. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The goal of this thesis is to study and understand the informal employment in China. With the rapid growth of informal employment, this thesis challenged the conventional view of informal sector that it is a hub for the poor who need work but cannot find employment in the formal sector. It analysed informal sector employment in China. It focused on three aspects: (1) the pattern and determinants of what constitutes employees, casual workers and employers, (2) the reasons for employment change between the formal and informal sectors, and (3) remuneration differences between formal sector employees and informal sector self-employed workers/employers. This analysis used CHIPs data from 2008, 2009, and 2014.

The findings suggest that informal employment is a hub for the more vulnerable who are less able to compete, such as women, less educated, not healthy and disabled. However, it not necessarily applied to self-employed and small business owners. They are competitive with longer working experience and financial capital to start up own businesses. Running one’s own business can provide benefits in terms of job flexibility to accommodate the need to take care of children or elderly relatives. The findings also suggested that labour force engaged in the informal sector are more likely to be induced by personal career pursuing, rather than enforced unemployment. Finally, we have find that changing jobs from formal employment to either self-employment or entrepreneurship can increase monthly disposable income.

The results found in this study contribute to the existing literature on China’s labour markets. We comprehensively dissected employment status by recognizing casual workers who either have no contract or a temporary contract under one year in length, which was neglected by the authorities and researchers. It has contributed to a richer understanding of employment status, where informal sector self-employed workers and employers are better off compared to formal employees. Indeed, casual workers have the worst working conditions when considering the number of hours worked and social protections received. These findings contribute to the existing literature on the informal sector as well as provide a comprehensive understanding of China’s labour market that the government can use when considering the establishment of new policies.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Appleton, Lina Song
Wu, Bin
Keywords: Informal sector (Economics); Disposable income, China; Employment (Economic theory)
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 49443
Depositing User: Liang, Zhe
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2018 04:40
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2020 04:30

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