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The social protection of rural workers in the construction industry in urban China

Li, Bingqin and Peng, Huamin (2006) The social protection of rural workers in the construction industry in urban China. CASEpaper, 113. Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

The construction industry is important for Chinese rural to urban migrants. Over 90% of urban construction workers are rural migrants, and over a third of all rural migrants work in construction. The construction industry is not only particularly important, but is also different from other industries in its pay and labour recruitment practices. In common with other rural workers, construction workers have long suffered from various problems, including delayed payment of salaries and exclusion from urban social security schemes. State policies designed to deal with these problems have in general had mixed success. Partly as a result of the peculiarities of the construction industry, state policy has been particularly unsuccessful in dealing with the problems faced by construction workers. This paper considers both the risks rural workers in the construction industry face because of the work they do and the risks they face and because of their being rural workers. It shows that social protection needs to take into account both the work related risks and status related risks. The authors first review the literature concerning work related risks, and then build up a framework to analyse the risks embedded in their work and status, and the relationship between these risks and the existing formal social protection. Thirty one in depth interviews with construction workers, carried out in Tianjin, PRC, are used to demonstrate both the risks and the inability of the state-led social policy to tackle these risks. The results suggest that rural construction workers in cities were exposed to all sorts of problems from not being paid for their work in time to miserable living conditions, from having to pay for their own healthcare to no savings for old age. This paper highlights the problems of policy prescriptions that failed to recognise the complexity of the problems faced by these workers and criticises the tendency to seek quick fixes rather than long-term and careful institutional design.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case
Additional Information: © 2006 Bingqin Li and Huamin Peng
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J28 - Safety; Accidents; Industrial Health; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I38 - Government Policy; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O5 - Economywide Country Studies > O53 - Asia including Middle East
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J18 - Public Policy
H - Public Economics > H8 - Miscellaneous Issues > H87 - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
H - Public Economics > H7 - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations > H75 - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
P - Economic Systems > P2 - Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies > P25 - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics; Housing; Transportation
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J8 - Labor Standards: National and International
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: 113
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2008 15:43
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/6226/

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