Identity and Wellbeing
Edited by Iredale R. Robyn and Guo Fei
Chapter 4: Negative native-place stereotypes and discriminatory wage penalties in China's migrant labour markets
China’s linguistic and geographic diversity leads many Chinese individuals to identify themselves and others not simply as Chinese, but rather by their native place and provincial origin. Negative personality traits are often attributed to people from specific areas. People from Henan, in particular, appear to be singled out as possessing a host of negative traits. Such prejudice does not necessarily lead to wage discrimination. Whether or not it does depends on the nature of the local labour markets. This chapter uses data from the 2008 and 2009 migrant surveys of the Rural-Urban Migration in China Project (RUMiC) to explore whether native-place wage discrimination affects migrant workers in China’s urban labour markets. We analyse the question of wage discrimination among migrants by estimating wage equations for men and women, controlling for human capital characteristics, province of origin, and destination city. Of key interest here are the variables representing provinces of origin. We find no systematic differences by province of origin in the hourly wages of male and female migrants. However, in a few specific cases, we find that migrants from a particular province earn significantly less than those from local areas. Male migrants from Henan in Shanghai are paid much less than their fellow migrants from Anhui. In the Jiangsu cities of Nanjing and Wuxi, female migrants from Anhui are paid much less than migrants from other parts of Jiangsu.
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