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From Iron Rice Bowl to InformalizationMarkets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China$
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Sarosh Kuruvilla, Ching Kwan Lee, and Mary E. Gallagher

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450242

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450242.001.0001

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The Informalization of the Chinese Labor Market

The Informalization of the Chinese Labor Market

(p.17) Chapter 2 The Informalization of the Chinese Labor Market
From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization

Albert Park

Fang Cai

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines multiple sources of evidence to quantify and characterize the extent of informal employment in urban China. It then discusses its potential policy implications. The increase in informal or “missing” workers raises two questions: (1) Why are these workers not being reported by their employers? (2) Who are these workers, and what kinds of jobs are they performing? By 2005, 10 percent of urban workers were registered as self-employed and another 36 percent were undocumented—neither reported by employers nor self-registered. Many of these “missing” workers were probably employed in the private and service sectors. Most migrant workers were employed informally, but a large number of urban permanent residents were also employed informally.

Keywords:   informal employment, Chinese employment structure, Chinese workers, China, labor market, migrant workers

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