Subjective Wellbeing of Post 80s Generation in China


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Post 80s generation, referring to the cohort born between 1980 and 1989, are a large population of roughly 300 million, and the majority of the so-called "only child" group due to the One Child Policy established in 1979. This generation grows up in the context of rapid social changes, in particular, higher education expansion, the fading of guaranteed job assignments and guaranteed payment and tenure (so-called "iron bowl" system) in labor market. The post 80s generation is thus a unique and influential generation in mainland China.

This study examines the subjective wellbeing of post 80s generation. Drawing on a recent nationally representative social survey, the study examines the roles of status perceptions and work-related factors in shaping the subjective wellbeing of post 80s generation. The results show that positive self-perceived status and status change enhance one's subjective wellbeing. Individuals working in public sector (compared with those in private sector) have higher level of subjective wellbeing. And the discrepancy between one's current and ideal job exerts a significant negative effect on subjective wellbeing. Most interestingly, the subjective wellbeing of junior college graduates decrease if the discrepancy between their current job and ideal job increase. The author suggests that the interesting finding relates to the massification of higher education in China.

This study advances the literature by moving beyond the income-based measure of economic disparity and the single dichotomous of employed/unemployed status in determining subjective wellbeing. This study suggests that subjective wellbeing of post 80s generation is affected by self-perceived status, and affected by the employment-related factors embedded in segmented labor market structure and the massification of higher education. This study suggests an important policy that the determinants of subjective wellbeing of the post 80s generations are more than material goods (such as material quality of life, occupational positions, and income).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event13th East Asian Social Policy (EASP) Annual Conference: Social Policy and Gender in East Asia - Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 1 Jul 20162 Jul 2016


Conference13th East Asian Social Policy (EASP) Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
OtherOrganized by The Institute for Social Welfare Research, Eeha Womans University
Internet address


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