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postgraduate thesis: Polarization and disparity of social classes in Hong Kong

TitlePolarization and disparity of social classes in Hong Kong
Authors
Issue Date2016
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chow, S. [周兆倫]. (2016). Polarization and disparity of social classes in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractAs Hong Kong society is reported to be more unequal with regard to opportunities nowadays, this thesis delves into topics of inequality of opportunities, or life chance, from a social class perspective, incorporating the effect of generational differences. The main objective of this thesis is to identify the status of polarization and disparity of social classes in Hong Kong from 2001 to 2011, with consideration of the interplay between generation (birth year from 1953 to 1979) and social class. Another objective is to examine whether the traditional Erikson–Goldthorpe–Portocarero (EGP) class schema can still be applicable to explain the class structure of contemporary Hong Kong society and how the population breaks down into characteristic groups when factors beyond income and occupation are taken into account. To achieve those objectives, this thesis consists of four parts: (1) decomposition of inequality and polarization indices, (2) multilevel modeling of wages per generations and social class, (3) latent class clustering as compared with EGP class schema, and (4) interviews with qualitative analysis aimed at finding explanations for results obtained in Parts 1 to 3 and exploring new dimensions of social disparities. The results show that polarization exists within the middle class in Hong Kong, which is separated into two clear layers: Class 1 (mainly professionals and managers) and Class 2 (mainly associate professionals and high-grade technicians). They show that Class 1 contributes most to the wage inequality within the entire working population. Heterogeneous and significant generational effects on wage inequality are found within these two layers of the middle class, but not within other social classes. Such effects shrank the wage gaps between the younger generations and the older generations within the middle classes from 2001 to 2011. The conglomeration of population structure becomes gradually more analogous to the three-fold EGP schema from 2001 to 2011, which traditionally has classified the population into “service workers (middle class),” “non-manual workers” and “manual workers.” The part of qualitative study also suggests that career paths and salary trajectories are quite different among the three-fold social classes, whereas within the middle class, generational disparity occurs in Class 1 and Class 2. Class 1 and Class 2 also display distinctive differences in career planning, perception of Hong Kong’s situational inequality and emigration decisions. On the other hand, among the subclasses of “manual workers,” Class 4 (skilled manual workers) and Class 5 (nonskilled manual workers), share higher similarity in both socioeconomic aspects and perceptions to society and self-issues. Class 3 findings for nonmanual workers illustrate rather separate ideologies and career experience among manual workers and service workers. The economic downfall of Hong Kong from 1997 to 2003 caused reformation of human resource structures, with residual effects on class structure and generational differences prolonged into the 2010s. These findings suggest, theoretically, that the EGP schema representing traditional social classes is still partly pertinent to the social structure of Hong Kong. Nevertheless, such effectiveness of a three-fold EGP schema implied a progressively capitalistic society in Hong Kong in the 21st Century.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectSocial classes - China - Hong Kong
Polarization (Social sciences) - China - Hong Kong
Equality - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramSocial Work and Social Administration
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/233928

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChow, Siu-lun-
dc.contributor.author周兆倫-
dc.date.accessioned2016-10-07T01:44:33Z-
dc.date.available2016-10-07T01:44:33Z-
dc.date.issued2016-
dc.identifier.citationChow, S. [周兆倫]. (2016). Polarization and disparity of social classes in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/233928-
dc.description.abstractAs Hong Kong society is reported to be more unequal with regard to opportunities nowadays, this thesis delves into topics of inequality of opportunities, or life chance, from a social class perspective, incorporating the effect of generational differences. The main objective of this thesis is to identify the status of polarization and disparity of social classes in Hong Kong from 2001 to 2011, with consideration of the interplay between generation (birth year from 1953 to 1979) and social class. Another objective is to examine whether the traditional Erikson–Goldthorpe–Portocarero (EGP) class schema can still be applicable to explain the class structure of contemporary Hong Kong society and how the population breaks down into characteristic groups when factors beyond income and occupation are taken into account. To achieve those objectives, this thesis consists of four parts: (1) decomposition of inequality and polarization indices, (2) multilevel modeling of wages per generations and social class, (3) latent class clustering as compared with EGP class schema, and (4) interviews with qualitative analysis aimed at finding explanations for results obtained in Parts 1 to 3 and exploring new dimensions of social disparities. The results show that polarization exists within the middle class in Hong Kong, which is separated into two clear layers: Class 1 (mainly professionals and managers) and Class 2 (mainly associate professionals and high-grade technicians). They show that Class 1 contributes most to the wage inequality within the entire working population. Heterogeneous and significant generational effects on wage inequality are found within these two layers of the middle class, but not within other social classes. Such effects shrank the wage gaps between the younger generations and the older generations within the middle classes from 2001 to 2011. The conglomeration of population structure becomes gradually more analogous to the three-fold EGP schema from 2001 to 2011, which traditionally has classified the population into “service workers (middle class),” “non-manual workers” and “manual workers.” The part of qualitative study also suggests that career paths and salary trajectories are quite different among the three-fold social classes, whereas within the middle class, generational disparity occurs in Class 1 and Class 2. Class 1 and Class 2 also display distinctive differences in career planning, perception of Hong Kong’s situational inequality and emigration decisions. On the other hand, among the subclasses of “manual workers,” Class 4 (skilled manual workers) and Class 5 (nonskilled manual workers), share higher similarity in both socioeconomic aspects and perceptions to society and self-issues. Class 3 findings for nonmanual workers illustrate rather separate ideologies and career experience among manual workers and service workers. The economic downfall of Hong Kong from 1997 to 2003 caused reformation of human resource structures, with residual effects on class structure and generational differences prolonged into the 2010s. These findings suggest, theoretically, that the EGP schema representing traditional social classes is still partly pertinent to the social structure of Hong Kong. Nevertheless, such effectiveness of a three-fold EGP schema implied a progressively capitalistic society in Hong Kong in the 21st Century.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshSocial classes - China - Hong Kong-
dc.subject.lcshPolarization (Social sciences) - China - Hong Kong-
dc.subject.lcshEquality - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titlePolarization and disparity of social classes in Hong Kong-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5793627-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineSocial Work and Social Administration-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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