Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 185–204

What Do Unions in China Do? Provincial-Level Evidence on Wages, Employment, Productivity, and Economic Output


DOI: 10.1007/s12122-014-9178-4

Cite this article as:
Budd, J.W., Chi, W., Wang, Y. et al. J Labor Res (2014) 35: 185. doi:10.1007/s12122-014-9178-4


Utilizing provincial-level data from the period of 1994–2008, this article studies the relationship between union density and wages, employment, productivity, and economic output in China. The findings indicate that union density does not affect average wage levels, but is positively associated with aggregate productivity and output. We discuss if and to what extent these findings are consistent with the familiar two faces of unions model and alternative explanations relevant in the context of Chinese labor and union institutions.


Labor unions China Wages 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Budd
    • 1
  • Wei Chi
    • 2
  • Yijiang Wang
    • 3
  • Qianyun Xie
    • 1
  1. 1.Carlson School of ManagementUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.School of Economics and ManagementTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Cheung Kong Graduate School of BusinessGuangzhouChina