Changing Pathways To Adulthood In China: Urban-Rural Divides, 1982-2005

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Felicia Feng TIAN , Department of Sociology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Pathways to adulthood have been increasingly diversified in the United States and Western Europe in the economic globalization (Buchmann and Kriesi 2011; Shanahan 2000). The standard, tight, sequential pathway to adulthood (Stevens 1990) has been postponed, prolonged, or twisted (Bruckner and Mayer 2005). These patterns are divided across the socioeconomic line: while most middle-class youths postpone the transitions, an increasingly proportion of working-class youths no longer follows the sequence of education, full-time employment, marriage and parenthood (Settersten and Bay 2010).

        Little is known, however, about how economic change affects the life experience of the youths in the developing world. This analysis aims to fill the gap, using reform-era China as a case study to examine how the pathways to adulthood have changed from 1982 to 2005.

        It will also focus on the urban-rural difference. In these twenty-third years, China has experienced a noticeable increase in the urban-rural income gap (Sicular et al. 2007). The urban-rural divide arguably contributes substantially to the increasing income inequality in China (Xie and Zhou 2013). Therefore, it is both theoretical and substantial interesting to compare the pathways to adulthood between urban and rural youths, and explore the relative contributions of each institution (i.e., school, labor market, and family) to the difference.

        To answer these questions, this analysis uses three censuses (1982, 1990 and 2000) and 2005 inter-censual survey. Instead of examining one transition at a time (Yeung and Hu 2013), this analysis incorporates education, work and family transitions simultaneously. Methodologically, it will treat each census as a synthetic cohort, and will use the entropy index to measure the level of heterogeneity in these pathways (Fussell 2005) and the bootstrap to test the statistical significance. It will also use de-composition method to examine the institutional contribution to these changes. (References available upon request).