Housing inequality in urban China: the heritage of socialist institutional arrangements

Changchun Fang, John Iceland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


With the development of the market economy in China, does the effect of the original socialist institutional arrangements on social inequality fade? We examine this issue by considering the effect of people’s positions in the work unit system and their socioeconomic status on patterns of housing inequality in urban China. Using individual-level data from the 2007 Household Survey on the Housing Conditions of Urban Residents in Nanjing, China, we find that although people’s socioeconomic status (measured by household income and householder’s education) has become very important in shaping people’s housing outcomes in urban China, housing inequality is also determined to some extent by their position in the work unit system—such as being employed in various units within the state sector—before and during the housing reform process. The pattern of housing inequality in urban China indicates that the impact of socialist institutional arrangements on social inequality can still be found in market transition societies even years after the market transition has occurred.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalJournal of Chinese Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

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