Employment and wage discrimination in the Chinese cities

A comparative study of migrants and locals

Zhiming Cheng*, Fei Guo, Graeme Hugo, Xin Yuan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


The urban labour market in China has been institutionally segmented, partly due to the hukou (household registration) system, in which rural-to-urban migrants have been discriminated against. However, the analytical framework in the literature that is based on the rural-urban divide fails to capture the diverse nature of the urban floating population, in which the urban-to-urban migrant segment is a growing proportion. This paper considers this regional divide, based on the dichotomy of migrants and locals, and examines the discrimination experienced alongside the rural-urban divide. By using original survey data collected from four megacities, this study analyses and compares employment attainments and wage differentials between rural migrants, urban migrants and urban locals. The results demonstrate the existence of the dual divides, and show that, compared with urban locals, rural migrants suffer employment and wage discrimination, while urban migrants suffer only employment discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-255
Number of pages10
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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