When Guanxi Meets Global: Global Connections and Network-Based Job Searching in Urban China

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Felicia TIAN, Fudan University, China
Xue LI, Fudan University, China
Institutional contexts matter for network-based job searching. However, most studies focus exclusively on institutional arrangements within nations; few has explored how economic globalization as an institutional force affects network use in the labor market. This paper explores this issue by using reform-era urban China as a case study. On the one hand, China has deeply integrated into the global market. It is ranked as the largest host of foreign direct investment and the largest country of foreign trade. On the other hand, China suffers from imbalanced regional development between externally-oriented, marketized coastal areas (Yangzi Delta and Pearl River Delta) and other inland areas in which power remains predominant in the distribution of resources and opportunities. Based on analysis of data from 2004 Social Capital Survey – China and 2008 Chinese General Social Survey, we find that network use in finding jobs varies sharply with global connection. In particular, network use is significantly lower in delta areas where job seekers use less networks for information and influence, while in the huge inland areas network use persists. These findings suggest that the effect of economic globalization on network use is mediated by local power, and both global and local institutional arrangements play a role in shaping network use in China.