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Economic Segmentation and Health Inequalities in Urban Post-Reform China

Soyoung Kwon

*Corresponding author: Soyoung Kwon soyoung.kwon@tamuk.edu


During economic reform, Chinese economic labor markets became segmented by state sector associated with a planned redistributive economy and private sector associated with the market economy. By considering an economic sector as a concrete institutional setting in post-reform China, this paper compares the extent to which socioeconomic status, measured by education and income, is associated with self-rated health between state sector and private sector. The sample is limited to urban Chinese employees between the ages of 18 and 55 who were active in the labor force. By analyzing pooled data from the 1991–2006 Chinese Health and Nutrition Survey, I find that there is a stronger association between income and self-rated health in the private sector than in the state sector. This study suggests that sectoral differences between market and redistributive economies are an important key to understanding health inequalities in post-reform urban China.

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