Jing Shen, Wei Xu
Institutions and individual strategies: how did job seekers respond to the changing employment environment in urban China?

The Journal of Chinese Sociology, 2017: 4:13, pp. 1-25
ISSN: 2198-2635 (online)

By using qualitative data collected in three representative Chinese cities and quantitative data from a countrywide survey, in this study, we synthesized the conventionally competing arguments from the state-centred and market-centred approaches. We showed the flow of elite resources, such as education, party membership, and family background, among three groups of job seekers—namely, job-assignment adherents, job-assignment networkers, and market adventurers, over time and across regions. With a focus on job seekers’ responses to the varying local employment, we showed strong evidence for the co-existence of state power and the market in China’s transitional context.