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Dramatic Polilcy Shifts and Methodical Institutional Modifications: Developing an Indicator of Unemployment

  • Author(s): Johnston, Michael
  • Li, Huimin
  • et al.
Abstract

Since the initiation of market reforms in 1978, the central government has used the principles of gradualism and experimentation to develop a labor market with Chinese characteristics. We show how these principles have manifested themselves in the development of an unemployment indicator. We find that top leaders of the party state make broad compromises that middle level officials seek to carry out given their inherited situation. Government agencies sometimes vary in their willingness to break with the status quo. In the quest to define and measure unemployment, the National Bureau of Statistics has championed straightforwardness and market transparency.

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