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Education and inequality in employment in China and Japan in 2000s: a social network perspective

Ka Yi Fung (Felizberta Lo Padilla Tong School of Social Sciences, Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 5 October 2020

Issue publication date: 23 June 2021




This paper attempts to discover whether or not social networks work in the same way in different sectors of the labour market in the same society, using data from the 2008 Asian Social Survey. Labour markets in some societies are segmented; there are two segments in the labour market, namely, the core sector and the peripheral sector. The practices of each sector differs from the others. Some sectors employ CME labour markets, while others favour LME labour markets (Kanbayashi and Takenoshita, 2014). In other words, we can find both CME and LME labour market in one society.


Since Granovetter’s (1973) pioneer study, scholars are interested in investigating in what way social network influence our job searching outcomes. However, these researchers have not yet yielded consistent results. Scholars argue that the institutional context of labour market can shape the network impacts on our job search outcome (Chen, 2014; Chua, 2011).


Surprisingly, this paper finds that there is no room for the use of personal contact in the public sector in both China and Japan. But, mean status is positively related to annual income in the private companies sector in both Japan and China. The significant influences of mean status in the private sectors in both China and Japan reflect the reinforcing of existing social inequality structure. This is because as the status of contact can facilitate respondents' job attainment process, those who are already in higher social status are more likely than those who are in the bottom of the social strata, to get a better job with the help from their network members.


The above findings show us that social network can exert various impacts on people's job searching process even in the same society. This is because it is possible that the labour market are segmented. These segments have very different practices. This difference attributes to the inconsistent findings of network effects on occupational attainment process. Therefore, it is essential to locate which labour market respondents are in, and the features of this labour market. This can help us know more about the use and effectiveness of network in different types of labour markets.



Thanks for the anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of the manuscript and their insightful comments and suggestions.


Fung, K.Y. (2021), "Education and inequality in employment in China and Japan in 2000s: a social network perspective", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 41 No. 7/8, pp. 875-893.



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