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From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization – Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China - Cornell Scholarship Online
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From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization: Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China

Sarosh Kuruvilla, Ching Kwan Lee, and Mary E. Gallagher


In the thirty years since the opening of China's economy, China's economic growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. At the same time, however, its employment relations system has undergone a gradual but fundamental transformation from stable and permanent employment with good benefits (often called the iron rice bowl) to a system characterized by highly precarious employment with no benefits for about 40 percent of the population. Similar transitions have occurred in other countries, such as Korea, although perhaps not at such a rapid pace as in China. This shift echoes the move from “brea ... More

Keywords: Chinese economy, economic growth, employment relations, Korea, China, informal employment, Chinese society, insecure employment

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780801450242
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450242.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sarosh Kuruvilla, editor
Professor of Comparative Industrial Relations, Asian Studies, and Public Affairs, Cornell University

Ching Kwan Lee, editor

Mary E. Gallagher, editor

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Front Matter

Chapter 1 Introduction and Argument

Mary E. Gallagher, Ching Kwan Lee, and Sarosh Kuruvilla

Part I Informalization and the State

Chapter 3 Legislating Harmony

Mary E. Gallagher and Baohua Dong

Part II Transformation of Employment Relations in Industries

Part III Unions, Nongovernmental Organizations, and Workers

Chapter 9 The Anti-Solidarity Machine?

Ching Kwan Lee and Yuan Shen

Chapter 10 Conclusion

Mary E. Gallagher, Sarosh Kuruvilla, and Ching Kwan Lee