Social Mobility in China - Prof Yaojun Li
|Dates:||19 February 2019|
|Times:||12:00 - 14:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||Manchester China Institute|
China has experienced unprecedented development in the last forty years, lifting itself from being one of the poorest countries in the world to being the second largest powerhouse at the present time. The reforms that started in 1978 have created vast opportunities with hundreds of millions of people getting better jobs, higher incomes and better living conditions. Yet has the increasing opportunity been accompanied by an equivalent degree of social equality? Scholars have envisioned three scenarios: increasing equality driven by market-based meritocracy; decreasing equality due to staying political power and entrenched social networks; and constant social fluidity due to ‘endogenous mobility regimes’. This paper attempts to assess the validity of these competing claims by conducting a systematic analysis of the patterns and trends of social mobility in China using the most authoritative national representative datasets (Life Histories and Social Change in Contemporary China, 1996; Chinese General Social Surveys, 2003-2015; and China Labour Dynamics Survey, 2012, 2014). The analysis focuses on both absolute and relative mobility rates covering a period of over sixty years between the oldest and the youngest cohorts. Preliminary findings show that people from lower origins, particularly those from rural backgrounds, had greater upward mobility chances due to a much lower starting point but social rigidity has also deepened whether viewed over time or across cohorts. Women experienced significant gender penalties over and above the hukou effects. Growing prosperity and deepening disparity have characterised social mobility in China.
Dr Yaojun Li is Professor of Social Change at the School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester. His research mostly focuses on social mobility and social stratification in Britain, China and the USA as well as social capital and wellbeing in Britain, China, Australia and the USA. His interests also include generosity in Britain and immigrant integration in Britain and the USA.
Role: Professor of
Organisation: University of Manchester
Travel and Contact Information
Committee Room A