This article explores the changes and continuity in the youth opportunity structure across three cohorts in the Chinese context. By identifying shared markers of the youth transition to adulthood as measures of the opportunity structure, this article pays particular attention to the role of the state in shaping youth opportunity. I draw upon the data from the 2003 and 2012 China General Social Survey (CGSS) and select three cohorts representing youth transitions in parallel with three different periods, including the ten-year Cultural Revolution, the market reform and further integration into the global economy. The findings suggest that education opportunities have opened up for younger generations. However, family characteristics seem to have a greater impact on young people’s opportunities to gain full-time employment and property ownership during the market transition and the recent globalisation phase. Moreover, all measures of opportunities declined for young women during the market reform and the recent globalisation era. The most consistent variable affecting youth opportunity across the three cohorts is political capital—that is, Chinese Communist Party membership. It can be argued that China represents a distinctive case of youth opportunity shaped by social reproduction through political capital and connections.
|Journal||Asian Education Review|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 5 Jan 2018|
- youth opportunity
- political capital