Strengthening worker benefits or destroying jobs: Effect of the 2008 Labor Contract Law in China

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Abstract

This study examines the effect of strict enforcement of the 2008 Labor Contract Law (LCL) on firm employment in China. Although the LCL caused a substantial increase in labor cost, there are no negative repercussions on employment. By contrast, surviving firms continue to increase employment driven by the strong labor demand of the fast-growing Chinese economy. However, compared with non-exposed firms, exposed firms suffered negative repercussions on employment after the enforcement of LCL. Exposed firms exhibited reduced wages after the LCL relative to non-exposed firms, suggesting that wage has a mediation effect on reducing the insurance expenditures of both employers and employees; they also raised productivity considerably after the LCL to absorb the incremental labor costs and survive in the market. However, there are heterogeneous effects of wage and productivity among firms of various ownerships and exporting behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106121
JournalInternational Review of Law and Economics
Volume73
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Employment
  • Labor Contract Law
  • Productivity
  • Wage

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