For the Love of Chinese Bread

BY Paul Solman  November 9, 2011 at 11:01 AM EDT


Making SenseAn economic analysis of a local, family-run bread bakery is the topic of the latest dispatch from Yoram Bauman, our temporary economist-in-residence in China. Using his improving (but still a bit limited) language skills and a visit A local, family-run bread-only bakery in China. to the local Wu-Mart, he estimates the small shop’s production, profit and costs. Bauman notes that the bread-making family works nearly every day of the month, which is typical, he says, of most workers in the market by his apartment in Beijing, and he’s seen the same workers at the place he buys breakfast everyday — for four months: Mr. and Mrs. Yang, managers of his favorite restaurant, work 12-hour days, seven days a week. They’ll get a break when their first child is born this month.

What would you expect a worker at a bakery to make, pulling eight-plus hours a day, seven days a week? Guess, and then watch this analysis.

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions _Follow Paul on Twitter._