The Chinese Labor Market in the Reform Era



Albert Park, University of Michigan

Date and Time

February 9, 2006 4:15 PM - 5:45 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Philippines Conference Room

Professor Park will address the changes that have occurred in the Chinese labor market over the past quarter century, focusing on the extent to which labor market reforms have successfully created a well-functioning market for labor with a high degree of labor mobility. Like other rapidly growing developing countries, China has experienced rapid structural change featuring a steady flow of labor from agriculture to industry, and from rural areas to urban areas. As a transition economy, China has shifted gradually from planned allocation of labor in state-sector jobs to a more open labor market. Although the large magnitudes of these changes are impressive, reform of the labor market has been halting, uneven, and difficult, with much additional reform still required. Prof. Park will look at several dimensions of the Chinese labor market: labor allocation, wage setting, regional differences, and ownership sectors. He will conclude by discussing the key policy challenges that lie ahead.

Albert Park is Associate Professor of Economics and Faculty Associate of the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. He is also a research affiliate at the Population Studies Center and chairs the faculty steering committee for Michigan's China Data Center. Dr. Park has been a visiting professor and researcher at Harvard University and Peking University, as well as other research institutions in China and Taiwan, and has served as a consultant for the World Bank on several projects analyzing economic development issues in China, including the Bank's current China Poverty Assessment project. Dr. Park earned a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Food Research Institute and Department of Economics at Stanford University in 1996. His research interests include economic development, economic transition, labor, applied microeconomics, and the Chinese economy. He is involved in numerous collaborative research activities in China, including several large survey projects to study labor market developments in urban areas, and rural education, health, and labor outcomes. He has published over thirty journal articles and chapters in edited volumes, and is the coeditor of a forthcoming volume titled Education and Reform in China. At Michigan, he teaches a graduate course on the microeconomics of development and an undergraduate course on the Chinese economy.

This series is co-sponsored with the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University.