From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization

From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization

Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China

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A 2011 Princeton University Industrial Relations Section Noteworthy Book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics



In the thirty years since the opening of China's economy, China's economic growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. At the same time, however, its employment relations system has undergone a gradual but fundamental transformation from stable and permanent employment with good benefits (often called the iron rice bowl), to a system characterized by highly precarious employment with no benefits for about 40 percent of the population. Similar transitions have occurred in other countries, such as Korea, although perhaps not at such a rapid pace as in China. This shift echoes the move from "breadwinning" careers to contingent employment in the postindustrial United States.

In From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization, an interdisciplinary group of authors examines the nature, causes, and consequences of informal employment in China at a time of major changes in Chinese society. This book provides a guide to the evolving dynamics among workers, unions, NGOs, employers, and the state as they deal with the new landscape of insecure employment.

Contributors: Fang Cai, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Baohua Dong, East China University of Politics and Law; Mark W. Frazier, University of Oklahoma; Mary E. Gallagher, University of Michigan; Sarosh Kuruvilla, Cornell University; Ching Kwan Lee, UCLA; Kun-Chin Lin, King's College, London; Mingwei Liu, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Albert Park, University of Oxford; Yuan Shen, Tsinghua University; Sarah Swider, Wayne State University; Lu Zhang, Temple University