NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

How Does China's New Labor Contract Law Affect Floating Workers?

Richard B. Freeman, Xiaoying Li

NBER Working Paper No. 19254
Issued in July 2013
NBER Program(s):   LE   LS

China's new Labor Contract Law took effect on January 2008 and required firms to give migrant workers written contracts, strengthened labor protections for workers and contained penalties for firms that did not follow the labor code. This paper uses survey data of migrant workers in the Pearl River Delta before and after the law and a retrospective question on when workers received their first labor contract to assess the effects of the law on labor outcomes. The evidence shows that the new law increased the percentage of migrant workers with written contracts, which in turn raised social insurance coverage, reduced the likelihood of wage arrears, and raised the likelihood that the worker had a union at their workplace.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19254

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