Title

Social protection for the informal sector in urban China : institutional constraints and self-selection behaviour

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Journal of Social Policy

Publication Date

1-1-2017

Volume

Advance publication

First Page

1

Last Page

23

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Abstract

The Chinese government has recently expanded the scope of urban social insurance programmes. However, social protection for the labour force of the urban informal sector, which reaches about half the number of urban workers, lags significantly behind. This under-coverage may be due to institutional constraints, particularly the household registration system hukou, and self-selection behaviour related to the limited benefits of social insurance. Drawing on a recent nationwide individual-level survey and city-level statistics, this study examines these two explanations for the under-enrolment on the social insurance programme. First, results suggest that hukou and the intergovernmental fiscal system are major institutional constraints. Second, self-selection behaviour in programme enrolment is verified. Employers in the informal sector are likely to opt out of social insurance. More importantly, employers in the informal sector, with rural or non-local hukou, are likely to opt out of social insurance, which suggests that self-selection behaviour is constrained by institutions. Such findings have important implications for broad theoretical and policy debates on universal social protection.

DOI

10.1017/S0047279417000563

Print ISSN

00472794

E-ISSN

14697823

Publisher Statement

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Jiang, J., Qian, J., & Wen, Z. (2017). Social protection for the informal sector in urban China: Institutional constraints and self-selection behaviour. Journal of Social Policy, Advance publication, 1-23. doi: 10.1017/S0047279417000563

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