Labour Market Regulations in China: Minimum Wage Policy

Research into changes to China's minimum wage policies will evaluate their impact and provide guidelines for regulatory bodies at municipal and provincial levels.

Over the past decade, China's high growth rate has led to a dramatic decline in absolute poverty. At the same time, wage and income inequalities have grown significantly and wages have fallen. Authorities at central and local levels have responded by introducing new policies and regulations, including changes to the labour market aimed at reducing discrimination and enhancing social protection.

One recent intervention involves a significant increase to the minimum wage. The new rate seems to have been set in response to political concerns at local levels. However, concerns exist that socio-economic implications of the change were not well considered: regional imbalances and the broader strategy of inclusive growth being pursued by the central government also needed to be addressed.

Research led by the China Institute of Income Distribution aims to investigate policy issues around minimum wage regulation in China. It will focus on the political economy aspects of how minimum wages are set, and the wages' effects on employment and inequality. An expected outcome is the development of guidelines to assist municipal and provincial governments in dealing with this issue.

The Institute of Income Distribution is a recently established policy research group within the School of Economics and Business Administration at Beijing Normal University. It will partner with researchers from the University of Western Ontario (Canada), the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Nanjing University of Economics and Finance, China Renmin University, Oxford University (UK), the Institute of Wage Studies of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and the Department of Employment and Income Distribution's National Development and Reform Commission.

The project will develop technical and analytical capacity in local researchers (especially young scholars) and institutions that conduct policy research on labour market issues. Producing peer-reviewed research reports, publications, and policy briefs are planned, as is the dissemination of findings and policy recommendations to policymakers in government, the research community, and civil society.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Sunday, April 15, 2012

End Date

Friday, January 22, 2016


36 months

IDRC Officer

Rodriguez, Mr. Edgard

Total funding

CA$ 630,470


China, Far East Asia, Central Asia, South Asia


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Dr Li Shi


Beijing Normal University as represented by Dong Qi

Institution Country


Institution Website