Institutional change and job-shift patterns in urban China, 1949 to 1994

Xueguang Zhou, Nancy Brandon Tuma, Phyllis Moen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Using life-history data on 4,600 respondents from 17 cities in China from 1949 to 1994, we offer two contributions to the literature on transitions from state socialism: (1) We focus on access to workplaces as reflected in individuals' job shifts across types of organizations and economic sectors. Patterns of job shifts over time reflect both institutional change and evolving mechanisms of stratification, and they therefore provide information relevant to theoretical arguments about reforming China's state socialist economy. (2) The life-history data indicate that, despite growing opportunities in workplaces outside the state sector since the early 1980s, only limited changes have occurred in job-shift patterns and the underlying mechanisms of stratification. Thus, redistributive institutions continue to shape job-shift patterns in urban China, in spite of reforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-365
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Sociological Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes


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