Reports and results

For the methodology report on China please click CFPS methodology report

For the South African case study please click South Africa Case Study

Learning materials

Multinomial Probit Regression Models (MPRM)

A short introduction into MPRM can be found by clicking A Short Introduction into MPRM

MPRM explained in more detail Multinomial Probit and Logit Models Explained

Examples of MPRM Multinomial Probit and Logit Models Examples

R code for MPRM Multinomial Probit and Logit Models R Program and Output

These resources and many more can be accessed on Econometrics Academy here



Agyeiwaa, D., Owusu, A., Oppong, A., Abruquah, L., Quaye, I. and Ashalley, E., 2015. The Impact of Temporary Staffing Agency Employment (TSAE) on Employee Performance in China. British Journal of Economics, Management & Trade, 9(2), pp.1-15. 

Abstract: The increasing use of temporary workers (dispatched labour) has become contentious in China since the implementation of China’s Labour Contract Law in 2008. Supporters of the Temporary Staffing Agency Employment (TSAE) industry in China, consider it as a cost-cutting, human resource-management tool for solving unemployment whiles its critics consider the industry as a means for companies to make workers more “flexible” with less protection. This study uses individual level analysis to assess the impact of the human factors (commitment to firm and agency, job security, job satisfaction and job stress) on the overall performance or output of dispatched or temporary workers in Temporary Staffing Agencies Employment (TSAE) in China. The study finds a statistically significant positive relation between job security and performance, commitment to Firm and performance as well as commitment to agency and performance. Furthermore, the study finds a negative relationship between job stress and performance as well as between job satisfaction and performance. Moreover, the study also finds that correlations among the independent variables highly impact on employee performance. The study also finds that the Chinese culture has an overarching influence on the impact of the human factors on the overall employee performance. The paper acknowledges the complexity underlying the concept of TSAE in China and recommends further studies to broaden knowledge and understanding, especially the interactions between culture, the human factors and performance.


Anand, P.K., 2018. Non-Standard Employment and Precarity: Student-Workers in China.

Abstract: Global economic changes and the resulting shifts in the role of the state from being a provider of resources, has led to significant transformation of the concept of full-time, permanent employment. This has led to new forms of non-standard employment and work arrangements, thus making labour, fluid and dynamic. Standard employment practiced in many industrial nations in the twentieth century, formed ‘the basis of framework within which labour law, collective bargaining and social security systems developed’ (Kalleberg 2000: 342). The emphasis on competition and profits, along with shifts to non-state or private sector also introduced flexibility – in hiring, wages, working hours and other aspects of the employment relations. Furthermore, ‘technological improvements in communications and information systems’, and ‘demographic changes in the composition of the labour force, such as increase in married women workers and older workers – who often preferred the flexibility available – also fuelled the rise of non-standard employment (Kalleberg 2000: 342).


Bhattacharya, S. and Kesar, S., 2020. Precarity and development: Production and labor processes in the informal economy in India. Review of Radical Political Economics, 52(3), pp.387-408.

Abstract: We take off from the recent critiques of precarity as an emerging global phenomenon to argue that the processes of precarity in the Global North and the Global South need to be analytically distinguished to bring forth their specificities. We further argue that such an analysis challenges the idea of development as transition, as is prevalent in much of the literature. We focus on the informal economy in India to show that the notion of precarity conceptually involves three distinct aspects of production and labor processes—“non-capitalist” petty commodity production (PCP), subcontracted PCP, and informal wage-labor. We argue that these dimensions have their own particularities that have distinct implications for the process of capitalist development in India. We contend that reproduction of these informal spaces during a period of high economic growth unsettles the imaginary of development as transition.


Booth, A.L., Francesconi, M. and Frank, J., 2002. Temporary jobs: stepping stones or dead ends?. The economic journal, 112(480), pp.F189-F213.

Abstract: In Britain, about 7% of male employees and 10% of female employees are in temporary jobs. This proportion has been relatively stable over the 1990s. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, we confirm the popular perception that temporary jobs are generally not desirable when compared to permanent employment. Temporary workers have lower levels of job satisfaction, receive less training and are less well‐paid. There is some evidence that fixed‐term contracts are a stepping stone to permanent work. Women who start in fixed‐term employment and move to permanent jobs fully catch up to those who start in permanent jobs.


Bone, K.D., 2019. I don’t want to be a vagrant for the rest of my life’: young peoples’ experiences of precarious work as a ‘continuous present. Journal of Youth Studies, 22(9), pp.1218-1237.

Abstract: This work presents findings from a qualitative multi-case study investigating the lives of young, precariously employed academics working at a large Australian university. The lived experience of precarious employment is explored through a temporal analysis of how lifestyles are conceived and constructed under the conditions of liquid modernity. The findings highlight how participants felt limited in their capacity to commit to long-term life plans due to invasive feelings of insecurity and dependency that confronted participants with feelings of inadequacy. Participants referred to an inability to make adult-like decisions and bind themselves to future commitments such as independent living arrangements and starting a family. Engagement with concepts of temporality assisted in the theorising of a ‘continuous present’, which refers to the deferring and sacrificing of lifestyle plans in the hope for an imaginary future that never seems to arrive. This theorisation contributes an understanding of how precarious employment can disrupt the flow of culturally acceptable expectations surrounding adulthood and how precarity develops over time. The analysis illustrates that an extended durée of precarious employment increases precarity beyond the present and into the future temporal zone of young peoples’ lives.


Bregnbæk, S., 2016. The Chinese race to the bottom: The precarious lives of unemployed university graduates in Beijing’s ‘Ant Tribe’. Critical Sociology42(7-8), pp.989-1002.

Abstract: This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out among what Lian Si (2009) has called China’s ‘ant tribe’, referring to the millions of unemployed Chinese college graduates who live in the outskirts of Beijing and to some extent share the predicament of China’s migrant workers. Education has been the main route to social mobility for centuries in China, but today college graduates are outnumbering jobs in China’s large cities. I focus on the relationship between the fantasy of education as a route to social mobility and the actuality. By narrating the biographies of two university graduates, Jing Jing and Bai Gang, who attempted but partly failed to transcend the boundary between rural and urban China, I show how their quests for social mobility and a more fulfilling life were tied to economic, legal and cultural constraints. I argue that the quest for a better life through educational migration may lead to physical mobility, but that existential mobility is lacking and this sometimes leads to instances of suicide, just as is the case for Chinese migrant workers who feel trapped in appalling working conditions.


Campbell, I. and Price, R., 2016. Precarious work and precarious workers: Towards an improved conceptualisation. The Economic and Labour Relations Review27(3), pp.314-332.

Abstract: Discussion of the implications of precarious work for individual workers remains hesitant and often confused. A clear conceptualisation would separate out five analytical levels: precariousness in employment, precarious work, precarious workers individually and as an emerging class, and precarity as a general condition of social life. To illustrate the need to avoid slippage between the concepts of precarious work and precarious workers, we present one ‘theory-relevant’ example – full-time secondary school students in Australia who hold part-time jobs in the retail sector. Their part-time jobs are indeed precarious but the negative effects on the student-workers are modest, both because participation in precarious work is limited (moderate weekly hours and intermittent work within the framework of a brief stage of the life course) and because many (though not all) of the associated risks are cushioned by structural forces such as access to alternative income sources and career paths. At the same time, however, a longitudinal perspective reveals that the same group of student-workers faces major risks in the future, as a result of increasingly insecure labour markets. Reflections on this example help to identify conceptual tools that can be applied to a wide range of other examples of precarious work.


Chan, J., 2017. Intern labor in China. Rural China, 14(1), pp.82-100.

Abstract: Internships have become integral to the development of vocational education in China. This article looks into the quasi-employment arrangements of student interns, who occupy an ambiguous space between being a student and being a worker at the point of production. Some employers recruit interns on their own, while others secure a supply of student labor through coordinated support of provincial and lower-level governments that prioritize investments, as well as through subcontracting services of private labor agencies. The incorporation of teachers into corporate management can strengthen control over students during their internships. While interns are required to do the same work as other employees, their unpaid or underpaid working experiences testify that intern labor is devalued. Exposes of abuses, such as using child labor in the guise of interns, have pressured the Chinese state and companies to eventually take remedial action. Reclaiming student workers' educational and labor rights in the growing intern economy, however, remains contested.


Chan, J., 2020. A Precarious worker-student alliance in Xi’s China. China Review, 20(1), pp.165-190.

Abstract: How did workers and students defend trade union rights at Jasic Technology based in Shenzhen beginning from summer 2018? When worker leaders faced managerial retaliation and police brutality, a group of young Maoists and Marxists composed primarily of Chinese university students and recent graduates, formed the Jasic Workers Support Group. As it evolved, the widening crackdown on left-wing student associations, labor rights groups, and social service organizations exemplified deepening state repression through 2019. The worker-student alliance as illustrated by the case of Jasic, while precarious and short-lived, reignited a century-long Chinese revolutionary legacy. It also offers a rare glimpse of a contemporary transnational labor and student network.


Chan, J., 2022. Precarious Asia: Global Capitalism and Work in Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia: By Arne L. Kalleberg, Kevin Hewison and Kwang-Yeong Shin. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2022.

Abstract: We take off from the recent critiques of precarity as an emerging global phenomenon to argue that the processes of precarity in the Global North and the Global South need to be analytically distinguished to bring forth their specificities. We further argue that such an analysis challenges the idea of development as transition, as is prevalent in much of the literature. We focus on the informal economy in India to show that the notion of precarity conceptually involves three distinct aspects of production and labor processes—“non-capitalist” petty commodity production (PCP), subcontracted PCP, and informal wage-labor. We argue that these dimensions have their own particularities that have distinct implications for the process of capitalist development in India. We contend that reproduction of these informal spaces during a period of high economic growth unsettles the imaginary of development as transition.


Chan, W.K., 2015. Higher education and graduate employment in China: Challenges for sustainable development. Higher education policy28(1), pp.35-53.

Abstract: In the summer of 2013, the number of Chinese university graduates who did not know where to go after graduation reached an unprecedented 2 million. These graduates are not illegible to claim any benefits from social insurance schemes that based on formal employment. When away from home, neither do they have access to other supplementary benefits based on household registration status (hukou) financed and provided by the local governments of host cities. To address the issue of massive unemployment among graduates, the Chinese government has introduced a range of policy measures with an emphasis on ‘flexible employment’, an umbrella for several types of atypical jobs, while leaving the basic structure of social protection intact. This study reviews the development of the Chinese graduate employment policy with emphasis on the changes in the forefront of massive unemployment among graduates. By evaluating the effectiveness of policy measures, this study argues for a thorough reform of the higher education system.


Chan, W.K., 2015. Higher education and graduate employment in China: Challenges for sustainable development. Higher education policy, 28(1), pp.35-53.

Abstract: In the summer of 2013, the number of Chinese university graduates who did not know where to go after graduation reached an unprecedented 2 million. These graduates are not illegible to claim any benefits from social insurance schemes that based on formal employment. When away from home, neither do they have access to other supplementary benefits based on household registration status (hukou) financed and provided by the local governments of host cities. To address the issue of massive unemployment among graduates, the Chinese government has introduced a range of policy measures with an emphasis on ‘flexible employment’, an umbrella for several types of atypical jobs, while leaving the basic structure of social protection intact. This study reviews the development of the Chinese graduate employment policy with emphasis on the changes in the forefront of massive unemployment among graduates. By evaluating the effectiveness of policy measures, this study argues for a thorough reform of the higher education system.


Chong, G.P.L., 2020. Who wants 9-to-5 jobs? Precarity,(in) security, and Chinese youths in Beijing and Hong Kong. The Information Society, 36(5), pp.266-278.

Abstract: In this article I examined how “slash” and startup careers have been promoted in the recent call for mass entrepreneurship to further advance the interests of the state; and how the initiatives in Mainland China have provided Hong Kong ideas for tackling its governmentality crisis resulting from youth disgruntlement with deteriorating socio-economic conditions and loss of political autonomy. I adopt the inter-referencing Asia approach to facilitate a conversation between the research on precarity in Beijing and Hong Kong contexts and the large body of literature on precarity that derives mainly from the Western experiences. I base my analysis on discourse analysis and visual analysis of three corpora of textual and visual materials, including materials from interviews and ethnographic research.


Cohen, T. and Moodley, L., 2012. Achieving" decent work" in South Africa?. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal15(2), pp.319-344.

Abstract: The fundamental goal of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is the achievement of "decent and productive work for both women and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity". The concept of decent work "is based on the understanding that work is not only a source of income but more importantly a source of personal dignity, family stability, peace in community, and economic growth that expands opportunities for productive jobs and employment." In the furtherance of this goal the ILO's Decent Work Agenda aims to implement decent work at country level by means of policy and institutional intervention, and Decent Work Country Programmes have been developed, in coordination with ILO members, to identify decent work deficits in member countries and to devise targets and strategies to overcome such deficits. In support of this the South African government has pledged its commitment to the attainment of decent work and sustainable livelihoods for all workers and has undertaken to mainstream decent work imperatives into national development strategies.


Cooke, F.L., 2006. Informal employment and gender implications in China: the nature of work and employment relations in the community services sector. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 17(8), pp.1471-1487.

Abstract: In spite of the growing attention to and the rapid development of employment in the informal sector in general and in community services in particular in China, little is reported or understood in Western literature on the nature of this type of work and employment relations, its increasingly important role in the economy, and its implications for legal and social policies. This paper investigates, through the findings of empirical studies, the nature of work and employment conditions for those who work in the community services sector and the gender implications for those engaged in informal employment.


Corseuil, C.H., Foguel, M.N. and Gonzaga, G., 2019. Apprenticeship as a stepping stone to better jobs: Evidence from Brazilian matched employer-employee data. Labour Economics, 57, pp.177-194.

Abstract: The objective of this paper is to evaluate the Brazilian Apprenticeship program adopted at a large scale since 2000. In particular, we investigate whether the program is a better stepping stone to permanent jobs when compared to other forms of temporary jobs. Similar to other apprenticeship initiatives around the world, the Brazilian program trains young workers under special temporary contracts aiming to help them successfully complete the transition from school to work. We make use of a matched employee-employer dataset covering all formal employees in Brazil, including apprentices. Our identification strategy exploits a discontinuity in the eligibility to enter the program in the early 2000s, when 17 was the age limit to take part in the program. This strategy allows us to consider selection based on unobservable characteristics. We find that the program increases the probability of employment in permanent jobs and decreases turnover rates and formal labor market experience in 2-3- and 4-5-year horizons. These results are consistent with a positive effect of the program on reservation utilities of workers and on their efforts to expand skills. This is also confirmed by the data as we find substantial impacts on schooling attainment. We also find evidence that the skill requirements of the apprentices’ occupation affect the likelihood of obtaining an open-ended job in the short run and the education achievement in the medium run. The results also evince much larger effects of the program for workers who had their first job in large firms.


Cunningham, W. and Salvagno, J.B., 2011. Youth employment transitions in Latin America. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, (5521).

Abstract: Using panel data from labor force surveys in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, the paper maps out young people's paths from the classroom to the work place during the 1980s through the early 2000s. By decomposing transition matrices into propensity to move and rate of separation and estimating duration matrices, the authors follow young people's movements between school and work and between employment sectors to better understand the dynamics of youth employment, including where youth go upon leaving school, how long they spend in each state, and where they go upon leaving various employment states. The main conclusion of the study is that young people across all three countries follow a similar trend over their life cycle: they leave school to spend a short time in the informal sector, move to a formal position for longer spells, and finally become self-employed. The authors find evidence of decreasing segmentation between formal and informal sectors as workers age, a lower propensity for formal sector employees to return to school than workers in the same age cohort who are not in the formal sector, and that entry to self-employment is not subject to income constraints.


De Ruyter, A. and Rachmawati, R., 2020. Understanding the Working Conditions of Gig Workers and Decent Work: Evidence from Indonesia’s online Ojek Riders. sozialpolitik. ch, 2(4), pp.2-4.

Abstract: In spite of the growing attention to and the rapid development of employment in the informal sector in general and in community services in particular in China, little is reported or understood in Western literature on the nature of this type of work and employment relations, its increasingly important role in the economy, and its implications for legal and social policies. This paper investigates, through the findings of empirical studies, the nature of work and employment conditions for those who work in the community services sector and the gender implications for those engaged in informal employment.


Dhingra, S., 2020. Protecting informal workers in India: the need for a universal job guarantee. LSE COVID-19 Blog.

Abstract: The COVID-19 lockdown implemented in India is estimated to have tripled the urban unemployment rate. Most low-income urban workers will fall through the cracks of the provisions being put in place to support workers, and almost none of them has access to benefits. Swati Dhingra (LSE) argues that the self-targeting features of a universal job guarantee make it an appealing policy option to protect informal workers in urban India both now and in the longer term.


Drishti, E. and Carmichael, F., 2022. Dead-end jobs or steppingstones? Precarious work in Albania. Personnel Review.



This study asks whether lower quality forms of employment lead to career transitions into higher quality forms of employment acting as steppingstones, or bridges or, whether instead they lead to dead-ends, or traps, in which workers move between unstable jobs with low prospects for upward mobility and unemployment.


This study uses a unique longitudinal dataset recording monthly employment states over 3 years for 373 individuals in the Albanian city of Shkoder. The analysis uses sequence and regression analysis to investigate whether people employed in lower quality, more precarious jobs remain in these kinds of jobs or instead are able to transition into higher quality, permanent and full-time employment.


In line with previous evidence for the region, the analysis confirms the precarization of many working lives particularly for women, young people and those with lower educational attainment. This evidence is more supportive of the dead-end hypothesis than the idea that a lower quality job can be a steppingstone into a better job.


Du, C., 2016. The birth of social class online: The Chinese precariat on the internet.

Abstract: Let me open with a truism. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is going through a period of intense transformations. The past two decades have seen the country shift from a communist economy to a capitalist one. This shift has propelled the country to the center of economic globalization processes and to the status of a global capitalist superpower. This shift has caused massive economic and political changes, but also profoundly affected the social structure of the country, and this book will discuss one aspect of this: the emerging Chinese precariat. Guy Standing (2011a, 2014) described the precariat as ‘the new dangerous class’, a very large and growing mass of ‘white collar’ workers who experience grave socio-economic difficulties and who, in spite of advanced skills and competences, do not enjoy the fruits of economic growth and prosperity. It is my purpose here to describe this emerging precariat in the PRC, and focus on their online behavior. The reason for this is clear: the dissatisfaction often voiced by the precariat has no place in the conventional public spheres controlled by the Chinese government; consequently, the Internet (in spite of harsh restrictions to be discussed later) becomes the only public arena where such complaints can be voiced, and where the precariat finds its footing as an emerging class in China. 


Essers, D., 2017. South African labour market transitions since the global financial and economic crisis: Evidence from two longitudinal datasets. Journal of African Economies26(2), pp.192-222.

Abstract: This paper studies individual labour market mobility and its determinants in South Africa since 2008 using two large, nationally representative longitudinal datasets: a set of 2-year panels based on the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) and quarter-to-quarter matched Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) cross-sections. We find considerable mobility in the South African labour market, with men and women transitioning in and out of employment and between different forms of employment and non-employment, both in the short and medium run. Our econometric analysis shows that at least part of this mobility is explained by demand-side factors outside of individuals’ direct control. Matric or post-matric level education and, to some extent, older age increased workers’ job security, above and beyond the influence of other, job-related variables. Higher education also helped individuals find jobs, independent of their initial labour market status and earlier work experience. On the whole, our findings suggests that in South Africa labour market segmentation manifests itself through selective rather than indiscriminate rigidities: higher-educated and/or more experienced labour market participants more easily break through the barriers to entry into the most valued jobs and, once there, benefit more from downward rigidity in the labour market than others. We further show how, following the global financial and economic crisis, short-term labour market mobility gradually decreased and segmentation became somewhat less selective on the level of education.


Feng, X., 2019. Trapped in precariousness: migrant agency workers in China's state-owned enterprises. The China Quarterly238, pp.396-417.

Abstract: This article develops an integrated perspective to study whether formalization can significantly reduce precariousness for informal workers. This perspective combines the analysis of employment dualism with that of rural–urban dualism and the analysis of the production sphere with that of the social reproduction sphere. By applying this integrated framework to the case of a state-owned enterprise (SOE) in China, this article finds that formalization does little to reduce precariousness for the migrant agency workers there. Migrant agency workers in China are in a precarious position not only because of their employment status but also because of their incomplete citizenship and the commodification of social reproduction materials. With the compensation gap between formal and agency workers narrowed primarily owing to the deterioration of formal employment, formalization has little effect on increasing the income of agency workers or alleviating the financial pressure upon them in the sphere of social reproduction; neither can formalization raise migrants up to full citizenship or reduce related precariousness.


Finnegan, F., Valadas, S., O’Neill, J., Fragoso, A. and Paulos, L., 2019. The search for security in precarious times: non-traditional graduates perspectives on higher education and employment. International Journal of Lifelong Education38(2), pp.157-170.

Abstract: This article explores non-traditional student and graduate views of the university in Ireland and Portugal as it relates to their expectations of, and experiences in, the labour market. The research is based on in-depth biographical interviews with 61 non-traditional students and graduates conducted longitudinally (85 interviews in total). The article contextualises the research in relation to the expansion of higher education internationally as well as national and EU policies aimed at supporting a ‘knowledge-based economy’. It offers an overview of the meaning of precarity. It then outlines key empirical findings from the research related to student expectations of their degree and their post-graduation experience in the labour market. In particular, it explores the phenomenon of precarity amongst graduates how this is experienced and handled in various ways. Using a critical and egalitarian lens the overall aim of the research is to widen the focus of widening participation debates and explore how educational and institutional initiatives impact, or not, on wider social and employment inequalities.


Hagen, T., 2003. Do fixed-term contracts increase the long-term employment opportunities of the unemployed?. None.

Abstract: The paper investigates whether (unsubsidised) fixed-term contracts (FTCs) are a means of integration for the unemployed in the West German labour market. This is done by analysing whether entering into an FTC improves the employment opportunities of an unemployed person in terms of the probability of subsequent permanent contracts and subsequent periods of employment and unemployment. The empirical analysis is based on propensity score matching methods, obtaining the effects of FTCs by comparing the future situation of (treated) unemployed entering into FTCs after a particular unemployment duration with a suitable control group of non-treated individuals. In principal different counterfactual situations for treated persons entering into FTCs after a certain number of month of unemployment are reasonable. A first counterfactual is never to enter into an FTC. A second counterfactual is not to take up an FTC job in this month but possibly in a later month. These two possible counterfactuals imply different definitions for the group of non-treated individuals and impose different policy questions. Both definitions are analysed in the paper. The propensity score is estimated by a discrete hazard rate model, which seems to be an appropriate way of taking into account the potential endogenous effect of the unemployment duration on the selection into the type of contract. Further insights are gained by comparing the determinants of the transition to FTC and permanent contract jobs. There is some evidence that FTCs may serve as stepping stones towards permanent employment for the unemployed. However, the hypothesis that FTCs lead to dual labour market cannot be rejected.


He, Y. and Mai, Y., 2015. Higher education expansion in China and the ‘ant tribe’ problem. Higher Education Policy, 28(3), pp.333-352.

Abstract: College Enrolment Expansion policies have been implemented in China since 1999. Unfortunately, numbers of qualified teachers and the amount of educational funds input have not caught up with the pace of student intake. Even the curricula taught in colleges are outdated and work practice programmes are inefficient. As a result, new college graduates cannot meet the requirements of firms they wish to work for. Many graduates work in unskilled job positions with low pay. They are called the ‘Ant tribe’. We estimate that the accumulative number of persons in ‘Ant tribes’ had exceeded 3 million by 2010, and the corresponding cost to China’s annual GDP was over 0.22% in respect of effective labour input. Improvement in quality should take priority during the expansion of higher education.


Howard, P., 1991. Rice bowls and job security: The urban contract labour system. The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, (25), pp.93-114.

Abstract: In China, the economic reforms of the past decade are commonly presented as the product of an on-going process to develop the institutional and conceptual framework for a socialist commodity economy. At the heart of the rural economic reforms are the contract responsibility systems, which are generally viewed as successful because of the stimulating effect of tying personal incomes directly to output and sales. Recent urban industrial management reforms are based on a comparable assumption that the key to raising labour productivity and improving enterprise efficiency lies in developing contractual relations between the enterprise and the government and between management and labour. The centre-piece of the urban industrial management reforms is also a set of contract responsibility systems which stipulate the rights and responsibilities of each side and tie the personal incomes of managers and employees to both enterprise and personal performance.


Korpi, T. and Levin, H., 2001. Precarious footing: temporary employment as a stepping stone out of unemployment in Sweden. Work, employment and society, 15(1), pp.127-148.

Abstract: In the intense debate around questions related to labour market flexibility one of the contested issues has been the relationship between temporary work and unemployment. Temporary work has here been regarded either as a precursor to recurrent unemployment, or as an entry port to stable employment. Little is however known about actual mobility patterns, including whether or not temporary employment can act as a stepping stone out of unemployment. Using a sample of initially unemployed, this is here examined through an analysis of the relationship between temporary employment during a one-year observation period and employment and unemployment during a subsequent twelve-month long follow-up period. The results evince the great overall vulnerability of the unemployed, but also that the permanent and temporary jobs obtained by unemployed differ relatively little in the employment security they offer. This suggests that the type of employment contract is of minor importance for the long-term employment prospects of the unemployed. This holds for women as well as for men, contradicting some earlier conjectures about gender specific mobility patterns.


Koyana, S. and Mason, R.B., 2017. Rural entrepreneurship and transformation: the role of learnerships. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the lessons that could be learnt from the first year of implementing the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority’s Rural Development Programme.


This exploratory, qualitative study involved unemployed people from a rural location in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. A focus group and in-depth interviews were held with the current learners, the programme manager, the skills training providers, and the royal custodian of the locality.


While highlighting the factors that enhance success as well as those that impede development, the study found that the learnership contributed significantly to social transformation through rural entrepreneurship. It empowers disadvantaged women and youths to gain access and skills which, if the recommended measures to sustain the programme are implemented, could enable them to grow bigger businesses.


Lee, C.K., 1995. Engendering the worlds of labor: Women workers, labor markets, and production politics in the South China economic miracle. American Sociological Review, pp.378-397.

Abstract: I conducted a comparative ethnographic study of two gendered regimes of production in two factories in the south China manufacturing region. Owned by the same enterprise, managed by the same team of managers, producing the same products, and using the same technical labor processes, the two factories developed distinctive patterns of shop-floor politics, termed "localistic despotism" and "familial hegemony." To explain these patterns, I argue that the social organization of local labor markets produces diverse conditions of workers' dependence. The different dependencies determine management's strategies of control, workers' collective practices, and their mutual constructions of workers' gender. This case study leads to critiques and reconstruction of the theory of production politics and the feminist literature on women workers in global factories.


Lee, C.K., 2016. Precarization or empowerment? Reflections on recent labor unrest in China. The Journal of Asian Studies, 75(2), pp.317-333.

Abstract: Labor scholars have highlighted the predicament of “precarization” besetting the working class everywhere in the twenty-first century. Beneath the “proletariat” now stands the “precariat,” for whom exploitation seems like a privilege compared to constant exclusion from the labor market. Amidst worldwide employment informalization and decimation of workers’ collective capacity, media reports and academic writings on Chinese workers in the past several years have singularly sustained a curious discourse of worker empowerment. Strikes in some foreign-invested factories have inspired claims of rising working-class power. Finding little empirical support for the empowerment thesis, this article spotlights the Chinese peculiarity of the global phenomenon of precarization and the dynamics of recent strikes, suggesting the need for Chinese labor studies to rebalance its prevailing voluntarism and optimism with more attention to institutional and political-economic conditions.


Lee, C.K., 2017. Mapping the contested terrain of precarious labor in China. Rural China, 14(1), p.155.

Abstract: This commentary develops an analytical framework for studying precarious labor as relational struggles on three contested terrains: recognition, regulation, and social reproduction.


Lee, C.K., 2019. China’s precariats. Globalizations, 16(2), pp.137-154.

Abstract: This essay offers a stylized account of the trajectory of precarious labour in China over the past seven decades and identifies the various contested terrains constitutive of its politics. I define ‘precarity’ not as a thing-like phenomenon with fixed attributes but as relational struggles over the recognition, regulation, and reproduction of labour. For each of the three periods of contemporary Chinese development, i.e. the Mao era of state socialism (1949–1979), the high-growth market reform era (1980–2010), and the current era of slow growth and overcapacity (since around 2010), I analyse the political economic drivers of precarity – from state domination to class exploitation and then to exclusion, indebtedness and dispossession – and workers’ changing capacity and interest to contest it.


Lin, J., 2019. Precarity, cognitive (non-) resistance and the conservative working class in China. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 49(4), pp.568-585.

Abstract: Workers’ resistance is crucial to understanding how the working class respond to the growing labour precarity in post-socialist China. The labour studies literature posits that inequality and volatile capital movements increase workers’ precarity and lead to stronger labour resistance, such as strikes. However, workers’ cognition as an integral part of resistance has been rarely studied. This article examines cognitive resistance by Chinese workers from different tier cities by looking at their social trust, class identity, understanding of policies and class solidarity. Despite capital movements and precarity causing more labour unrest, it does not necessarily lead to a stronger cognitive resistance. While inequality and precarity are greater in the more developed megacities with a shifting capital favourability, workers in megacities display a more conservative cognitive resistance than those from the lower-tier cities. This study of workers’ cognitive resistance provides insight into the future of the Chinese labour movement. It argues that the working class’s current cognitive non-resistance suggests that even if a window of opportunity were to appear in the wall of state oppression, workers are not cognitively prepared to coalesce into a coherent social movement that would bring about transformative changes.


Liu, G., 2014. Private employment agencies and labour dispatch in China. International Labour Organization.

Abstract: This paper discusses the framework for operation of private employment agencies/labour dispatch companiesand reviews the development of temporary agency employment in private service sectors in the past decade, in particular since the implementation of the Labour Contract Law.  By collecting first-hand information about the conditions of temporary agency employment conditions, including the extent of replacement of direct positions by agency workers, the respective responsibilities of private employment agencies, user enterprises,etc., this research aims to provide overall information about labour dispatch in China and to address special concerns in particular sectors,and treatment as regards pay, social protection, leave and pensions as well as social dialogue.


Manning, A. and Mazeine, G., 2020. Subjective job insecurity and the rise of the precariat: evidence from the UK, Germany and the United States.

Abstract: There is a widespread belief that work is less secure than in the past, that an increasing share of workers are part of the ’precariat’. It has been hard to find evidence for this is objective measures of job security but perhaps subjective measures show different trends. However, this paper shows that in the US, UK and Germany, there is no trend towards increased subjective measures of job security. This conclusion seems robust to controlling for the changing mix of the labour force and true for specific sub-sets of workers.


Mayombe, C., 2021. Vocational Skills Training for Youth in eThekwini Municipality. In Vocational Education and Training in Sub-Saharan Africa (pp. 33-105). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Abstract: Vocational skills training programmes for youth are widely acknowledged as having a significant role to play in tackling youth unemployment. This chapter examines the internal enabling environments for training delivery, laying a good foundation for the skills utilisation. In this connection, the findings revealed that the training delivery mechanism had a close link with the world of work in order to facilitate the utilisation of acquired skills in the labour market, whether waged or self-employment. Concerning the vocational training delivery for skills acquisition, the approach of teaching and learning was practice-oriented in the classrooms, workshops and workplace. In other words, the training delivery mechanism had a close link with the world of work in order to facilitate the utilisation of acquired skills in the labour market, whether wage employment or self-employment. Without discussing the causes of the effectiveness of the internal training delivery environments in terms of post-training occupations of the graduates, the findings reveal that 65.4% of the trainees got employment towards the end of the training programmes or after graduating.


Mavunda, P.T., 2022. An analysis of the effectiveness of graduate training programmes on youth unemployment in South Africa (Doctoral dissertation, North-West University (South Africa)).

Abstract: The study analysed the Graduate Training Programmes (GTP) in the Vaal Triangle Area. The purpose of the study was to test whether the efficacy of the GTP would essentially reduce youth graduate unemployment and youth unemployment in South Africa. The objectives of the study were to analyse the managerial performance feedback on the graduate who underwent the GTP, evaluates whether the quality educational level allows graduates to be competent in their field of work; explore the skills which the graduates gained during the GTP, analyse whether the skills advanced graduates to become employable, and evaluate whether graduates occupied permanent roles after completing a GTP. The qualitative method was followed, and an interview schedule was created and distributed to the relevant participants to acquire the study data for evaluation and findings purposes. The findings illustrated the effectiveness of the GTP in the Vaal Triangle Area. The objective was presented by the majority of graduates who participated in the interview schedule being appointed permanent employment roles. The study recommended that the GTP should be structured and not allocate tasks or projects to graduates on an ad-hoc basis. The study also suggested that GTP should assign mentors/ coaches and peers to graduates and a feasible budget for graduate training and development courses.


Mehta, B.S., 2020. Changing Nature of Work and the Gig Economy: Theory and Debate. FIIB Business Review, p.2319714520968294.

Abstract: This article explores the changing nature of work across the globe, specifically in India, with the emergence of the gig economy. It discusses the theoretical background debates on work with technological change and highlights how India’s recent job market trends are rather disappointing, with rising unemployment and a decline in new jobs. In this scenario, the gig economy is fast emerging as a respite, offering employment opportunities for millions of Indians. This article also explores the prospects and challenges of gig work in India and the ways in which it can prove to be a provider of decent work opportunities for people. Finally, the article provides some important future-policy suggestions for the growth and improvement of work in the gig economy.


Mosoetsa, S., Stillerman, J., & Tilly, C. (2016). Precarious Labor, South and North: An Introduction. International Labor and Working-Class History, 89(89), 5–19

Abstract: This special issue on precarious labor in global perspective includes analyses of precarious work in South Africa, Mexico, the United States, China and India. The key strengths of the contributions to this issue are that they demonstrate precarious workers’ capacity for collective action, the hidden forms of work that are not tracked by states, long-term historical continuities of precarious work, and differences between precarious work in the Global North and South. This introduction explores the challenges of conceptualizing precarious work; the history of precarious labor; its variations in the Global North and South; possible differences across sectors of precarious work; and the intersections between precarious work and categories of gender, race, and citizenship status. We conclude with a summary of the articles included in the issue.


Nawakitphaitoon, K. and Tang, C., 2021. Nonstandard Employment and Job Satisfaction across Time in China: Evidence from the Chinese General Social Survey (2006–2012). Work, Employment and Society, 35(3), pp.411-431.

Abstract: This study examines the association of nonstandard employment with job satisfaction over time in China. An analysis is carried out using the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS), a large cross-sectional survey that collected data from over 3000 workers across different industries, ownership types and regions in China in 2006, 2008 and 2012. The empirical results show that in 2006, nonstandard employment workers, on average, were less satisfied with their jobs than their counterparts in standard employment, all else being equal. However, these differences in job satisfaction became very small and insignificant in 2008 and 2012. The results from the propensity score matching exercise provide a similar conclusion. These findings suggest that improvements in regulations and employment relations in China have increased job satisfaction for nonstandard employment workers.


Ngai, P. and Smith, C., 2007. Putting transnational labour process in its place: the dormitory labour regime in post-socialist China. Work, employment and society, 21(1), pp.27-45.

Abstract: Globalization of capital accumulation and transnational production highlight a shifting paradigm in labour process theory, which requires a theorization on the spatial politics of production.The shift from Taylorism and Fordism (mass production and welfare-state interventions) to flexible accumulation (flexible production, casual labour, deregulation and privatization) may be a periodization that has become increasingly problematic. What is emerging is the transnational political economy of production that links not only to a new scale of the economic, but a new economy of scale, in which mass production and the space of work-residence are extensively reconfigured for capital accumulation on a global scale.This article aims to explore a new spatial politics of transnational labour process in China at the time of its rapid incorporation into the world economy. We study a distinctive form of labour regime, the dormitory labour regime in China, and explore the articulation of production and daily reproduction of labour using two contrasting case studies.


Rankin, N., Roberts, G. and Schöer, V., 2014. The success of learnerships?.

Abstract: Vocational training programmes, like South Africa’s learnership programme, which combine classroom learning and on-the-job training seem like the type of intervention which can create skills, get young people into jobs quicker, and reduce youth unemployment. This paper uses a longitudinal dataset of young people over four years—some of whom participate in the learnership programme—and firm level data to assess whether the programme meets its objectives, and based on this draws lessons for similar programmes in other countries. The results are disappointing: young people completing learnerships are more likely to be employed but this fades quickly; they do not get better jobs; and the way the programme is funded, as well as the nature of the firms which undertake subsidized training, means that the programme redistributes resources from smaller to larger firms and from more labour-intensive firms to less.


Selden, M. and Wu, J.M., 2011. The Chinese state, incomplete proletarianization and structures of inequality in two epochs. The Asia-Pacific Journal, 9(5), pp.1-35.

Abstract: Revolutionaries in the 1950s offered this prospect to the Chinese people: a highly egalitarian society, the product of land reform, collectivization and nationalization, with low but gradually rising income and welfare provisions for all, would chart a course toward mutual prosperity on foundations of socialist development. The key lay in restriction of markets and transfer of the surplus to the state for investment centered in heavy industry in the cities and collective agriculture in the countryside, eventually enabling China to overcome poverty and underdevelopment. This paper assesses the nature and impact of that low consumption socialist regime then and the subsequent strategies that have sustained low consumption for labor in city and countryside in the subsequent market and capitalist transition. We locate the discussion in relation to theories of original accumulation, proletarianization, wage stagnation, and low consumption in the emerging capitalist world economy of which China has been a part since the 1970s.2 We hope to add to that discussion by exploring a range of structures that have produced incomplete proletarianization and inequality during two periods of socialist transition (1950s to 1970) and capitalist transition (1970s to present).


Smith, C. and Chan, J., 2015. Working for two bosses: Student interns as constrained labour in China. human relations, 68(2), pp.305-326.

Abstract: Based on interviews with students and teachers at one electronics company, we analyse the use of student interns to do regular manufacturing work in China. We argue that student workers need to be seen as a distinct category of constrained labour; part of a growing insecure workforce in China. We find that students enrolled in vocational schools are moved into internships, without their consent, to suit the needs of employers. This results in a misalignment between interns and their area of study that invalidates the basic principle of vocational education, which is to combine theory and practice within a sector or occupationally-focused education programme. Teachers in vocational schools follow their students into the factory and become ‘teacher-supervisors’, receiving a second salary for co-managing the utilization of student interns’ labour power. Thus, within such an unfree labour regime, student workers are subject to dual control in the workplace from managerial and teacher-supervisors.


Smith, C. and Pun, N., 2006. The dormitory labour regime in China as a site for control and resistance. The international journal of human resource management, 17(8), pp.1456-1470.

Abstract: The paper uses research into industrial dormitories in Southern China to examine the role performed by employer-controlled accommodation in the management of human resources. The current rapid industrialization in China has been fuelled by the over 100 million internal migrants who move around the country on an annual basis and are housed in industrial dormitories within or close to production facilities. The paper argues that having labour supply ‘on tap’ facilitates management extending the working day, responding rapidly to fluctuations in product demand and functions as a form of coercive control, whereby employers have power not only over employment but also the housing needs of employees. The paper examines the history and contemporary use of employer controlled accommodation, and argues that in both scale and systematic application, the current Chinese case is unique in the history of human resource management. Drawing on a case study of a large factory and dormitory, ‘China Wonder Electronics’ based in the Southern city of Shenzhen, the paper outlines the ways in which by working and living together, workers are able to develop collective resources that can be mobilized against managerial prerogatives, and challenge what is structurally a weak employment relationship for labour faced with the combined forces of big business and the state. The paper concludes by discussing the strengths and limitations for workers in what we are calling a dormitory labour regime.


Smith, C. and Pun, N., 2018. Class and precarity: an unhappy coupling in China’s working class formation. Work, Employment and Society, 32(3), pp.599-615.

Abstract: In refuting Guy Standing’s precariat as a class, we highlight that employment situation, worker identity and legal rights are mistakenly taken as theoretical components of class formation. Returning to theories of class we use Dahrendorf’s reading of Marx where three components of classes, the objective, the subjective and political struggle, are used to define the current formation of the working class in China. Class is not defined by status, identity or legal rights, but location in the sphere of production embedded within conflictual capital–labour relations. By engaging with the heated debates on the rise of a new working class in China, we argue that the blending of employment situation and rights in the West with the idea of precarity of migrant workers in China is misleading. Deconstructing the relationship between class and precarity, what we see as an unhappy coupling, is central to the article.


Standing, G., 2017. The precariat in China: a comment on conceptual confusion. Rural China, 14(1), pp.165-170.

Abstract: This comment critiques the concept of “the informal sector” and explains the meaning of the precariat in considering the perspectives of the authors of the articles in this special issue.


Suda, K., 2016. A Room of One's Own: Highly Educated Migrants' Strategies for Creating a Home in Guangzhou. Population, Space and Place, 22(2), pp.146-157.

Abstract: Highly educated rural-to-urban migrants living within China's first-tier cities – known as ‘ants’ (yizu) – employ a number of different everyday strategies for creating a home in the face of structural obstacles. This article discusses such strategies in the city of Guangzhou by extending Martina Löw's (2001) concept of the constitution of urban space. Different types of migrants' strategies and the transient nature of these migrants' homes are presented against the background of current Chinese debates on social stratification, social mobility, and access to urban space. The analysis is based on 30 qualitative interviews with college graduates living in urban villages (chengzhongcun), in addition to the results of field research.


Swider, S., 2015. Building China: precarious employment among migrant construction workers. Work, employment and society, 29(1), pp.41-59.

Abstract: In China, informal precarious work has exploded and now represents a majority of urban employment. This article explores precarious informal work by presenting a case study of migrant workers in the construction industry. Despite the fact that these workers are all unregistered migrants performing informal construction work, there exists a diversity of labour market situations, working conditions and work relations. This article introduces the concept of ‘employment configuration’ to analyse this diversity and to bring informal workers, who are operating outside of state regulations, back into our industrial labour relations framework. The concept of employment configuration also refocuses our attention from the dyadic worker–employer relationship to the more complex triad of the worker, the employer and the state, shedding light on varying sources of control and exploitation of these migrant workers.


Swider, S., 2017. Informal and precarious work: the precariat and China. Rural China, 14(1), pp.19-41.

Abstract: Is global capitalism responsible for increasing precarious work around the globe, or is the rise of informal and precarious work a newly emerging trend in the West but a long-standing reality for the rest of the world? This article enters debates about precarious and informal work using the case of China, and in doing so, challenges our West/Rest binary. It shows how informal work in China is not a new phenomenon, but rather was the norm during China’s early industrialization, from 1898 to 1949. Even during the Maoist period, full-time standard employment under the danwei system was a privilege reserved for “urban” workers, in part made possible by a reliance on the rural population as a source of flexible labor. During the contemporary post-Mao period, not only has informal work flourished, so have other new forms of precarious work. However, while scholars of Chinese labor and labor politics have carefully documented the rise of precarious work and its impact on labor politics, informal precarious workers have remained largely invisible and are absent in most analyses. Expanding our framework in a way that includes rather than eliminates these workers from our analysis has significant ramifications for how we understand this historical moment. It suggests that there is increasing fragmentation of the working class, which calls into question the idea that China’s economic rise has created a new widespread industrial working class which can be expected to develop a unified class consciousness and challenge capital as it did in the West. 全球化的资本主义是否应对全球日益增长的不稳定工作负责?与日俱增的非正式和不稳定工作是否在西方世界是一个新兴的现象,然而在世界其他地方却是一个长存已久的事实?本文通过中国的案例介绍了关于不稳定和非正式工作的讨论,此做法也挑战了“我们西方”与“剩余世界”的二分法。它展示了中国的非正式工作并非一种新现象,而是在中国早期工业化阶段(从1898年到1949年)的范式。甚至在毛时期,在单位制系统下的全职的标准式雇佣制是为城市工人保存的特权,部分原因是由于他们依靠农村人口作为灵活劳动力的来源。在后毛泽东时期的当代,不仅非正式工作蓬勃发展,还产生了其他新形式的不稳定工作。虽然中国劳动和劳动政治学者已经详细论述了不稳定工人的兴起及其对劳工政治的影响,但是大量的非正式工人不为人们所知,在大多数的文献研究中也缺乏对此的论述。在分析当中,以包括而非剔除这些工人的方式去扩展研究框架对我们如何理解这个历史时刻意义深远。本文表明了工人阶级的日趋碎片化,挑战了这样一种想法,即:崛起的中国经济能产生具有统一阶级意识并能像西方工人阶级那样挑战资本的新的广泛的工人阶级。


Wang, H., Li, W. and Deng, Y., 2017. Precarity among highly educated migrants: college graduates in Beijing, China. Urban Geography, 38(10), pp.1497-1516.

Abstract: The growing knowledge-based and service economies in megacities like Beijing and Shanghai have attracted large numbers of highly educated migrants, whereas their living conditions have drawn plenty of attention. In examining these issues, we conducted an empirical study regarding the precarity among highly educated migrants in Beijing. There are some structural and institutional factors underneath the highly educated migrants’ precarity, as the household registration (hukou) system still plays a significant role in accessing social welfare (urban public housing) and job opportunities in Beijing. Although the new urban poverty has occurred in the city as a result of the questionable policies regarding social distribution and welfare, it can also be argued that some of these migrants view temporary precarity as a strategy toward future upward social mobility – the hope of doing better over the long term.


Xie, Y. and Lu, P., 2015. The sampling design of the China family panel studies (CFPS). Chinese journal of sociology1(4), pp.471-484.

Abstract: The China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) is an on-going, nearly nationwide, comprehensive, longitudinal social survey that is intended to serve research needs on a large variety of social phenomena in contemporary China. In this article, we describe the sampling design of the CFPS sample for its 2010 baseline survey, and methods for constructing weights to adjust for sampling design and survey non-responses. Specifically, the CFPS used a multi-stage probability strategy to reduce operation costs and implicit stratification to increase efficiency. Respondents were oversampled in five provinces or administrative equivalents for regional comparisons. We provide operation details for both sampling and weights construction.


Zhang, X., 2020. “The people’s commune is good”: precarious labor, migrant masculinity, and post-socialist nostalgia in contemporary China. Critical Asian Studies, 52(4), pp.530-549.

Abstract: Post-socialist China is characterized by the loss of social and economic safety nets for workers, particularly the most marginalized. Scholars and others have assumed that informal laborers lack the associational power needed to mitigate the precarity of their lives. Drawing on ethnographic data collected between 2004 and 2016 in Chongqing, this article examines the ways in which precariously employed rural migrant men create their own safety nets by drawing on their past experiences of agricultural collectivization in the socialist era to form cooperative associations. It further explores how these men leverage cultural resources from the socialist period to retain male privileges. China’s decades of de-ideologized reforms and waves of informalization of work have not completely deprived migrant workers of the moral and symbolic resources which they use to make claims. Migrant informal laborers’ capacity for collective resistance in post-socialist times is deeply entwined with their gendered experience of work in rural, pre-reform China.


李静君, 2018. 勾勒关于中国不稳定劳工的论争图谱. 中国乡村研究, (1), pp.144-152.

内容摘要: 本文构建了一个研究不稳定劳工的分析框架, 即将其作为在承 认、规制、社会再生产三个争议性领域进行的关系性斗争来讨论