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Regional disparity of labor’s share in China: Evidence and explanation

Chi, Wei and Xiaoye, Qian (2011): Regional disparity of labor’s share in China: Evidence and explanation.

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Despite the “growth miracle” of recent decades, labor’s share, i.e., the share of total labor compensation in GDP, has decreased in China. Labor’s share is an important indicator of the primary distribution of national income, and its fall has drawn significant attention from researchers and policymakers. As China’s many regions have different development levels and economic structures, it is very likely that labor’s share will differ across regions. Thus, it is important to examine the regional disparity of labor’s share. Using Chinese provincial data from 1997 to 2007, we find a significant difference in labor’s share between eastern and western China. Then, we use spatial cross-sectional and panel models to show the significant effect of industrial composition and ownership structure on regional labor shares.

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