Gender Occupational Segregation and Its Impact on the Gender Wage Gap Among Migrants in China

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Siyang KONG, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Ineke MAAS, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Marco H.D. VAN LEEUWEN, Utrecht University, Netherlands
China’s Economic Reform in the 1980s led to rapid urbanization and a concomitant increase in the number of migrants. In 2016, the number of migrants reaches to 245 million (National Bureau of Statistics of China), and as shown by the census data from 2010, around half of the migrants in China are women. Previous research found that in China, unlike in other developing countries, the increasing number of migrants does not necessarily lead to feminization in agricultural activities, as women’s off-farm labor participation rate is as high as, and sometimes surpasses their male counterparts. Meanwhile, it is also shown that female migrants earn substantially less than males.

Gender occupational segregation is argued to explain gender wage gap, whereas few study has examined this causal link for migrants in China before. One exception is the study of Meng (1998). However, he only studied four occupational groups: construction, industry, service, and self-employed, and used a relatively small sample (1504 migrants) collected in one city (Jinan) that is not among the most urbanized cities in China. Nowadays, as a result of educational expansion and the diversification of labor demand, migrants work in many more occupational groups. Moreover, a recent study showed that broad occupational groups are not sufficient to show the dynamics of labor market in China (Xiu & Gunderson, 2015).

In this paper, we aim to use decomposition methods to examine to what extent gender occupational segregation explains the gender wage gap among Chinese migrants. We will answer our research question using data from a national survey, the China General Social Survey, wave 2003 and 2013. In the data, detailed information is available on educational attainment, occupation, migration, and demographics. We will show what part of the gender wage gap is explained by gender occupational segregation and how this changes over time.