Ethnic stratification in Chinas labor markets- the case of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

05.27.2011 - By Department of Sociology Podcasts

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Ethnic Labour market discrimination in China, with a particular focus on the Uyghur Minority. This paper analyzes a sample from the 2005 mini-census data to examine ethnic inequalities in labor markets, with a special focus on how ethnic inequality varies by different employment sectors. Results show a clear disparity between Han and Uyghur in employment segregation by sector: more than 70 percent Uyghur in Xinjiang, compared to only 35 percent of local Han Chinese, are engaged in agricultural work; within the non-agricultural sector, Uyghur are nonetheless more likely to work in government agencies/institutions than both Han locals and migrants, and also more likely to become self-employed. Furthermore, while Han-Uyghur earnings gap is negligible in government/institution, it increases with the marketization of employment sector. In other words, the earnings disparity is the largest among self-employed, followed by employees in private enterprises and then by employees in public enterprises. Han migrants in economic sectors enjoy particular earnings advantages and hukou registration has no effect on earnings attainment except in government/institutions. The overall income disadvantages of Uyghur, nevertheless, mainly stem from within-sector difference rather than from sector segregation. The paper concludes that the pattern of ethnic stratification is a mixed result from the market force that tends to enlarge ethnic inequality and government efforts in promoting ethnic equality.

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