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Decomposition of the increase in earnings inequality in urban China: A distributional approach

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  • Chi, Wei
  • Li, Bo
  • Yu, Qiumei
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Abstract

This study examines changes in Chinese urban income distribution from 1987 to 1996 and 1996 to 2004 using nationwide household data and investigates the causes of these changes. The Firpo, Fortin, and Lemieux (2007, 2009) method based on unconditional quantile regressions is used to decompose changes in income distribution and income inequality measures, such as variance and a 10:90 ratio. The decomposition results show that wage structure effects, such as a widening gender earnings gap, increases in returns to college education, and increases in earnings differentials between industries, company ownership types, and regions, have been the major contributors to the overall increases in income inequality. It was also found that at different points on the income distribution (e.g., the lower or upper half), the contributing factors that increase income inequality are different.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 299-312

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Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:22:y:2011:i:3:p:299-312

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

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Keywords: Earnings inequality Unconditional quantile regressions Earnings distribution Decomposition;

References

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  1. Gibson, John & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott, 2001. "Improving Estimates Of Inequality And Poverty From Urban China'S Household Income And Expenditure Survey," Working Papers 11989, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  2. Wan, Guanghua & Zhou, Zhangyue, 2004. "Income Inequality in Rural China: Regression-based Decomposition Using Household Data," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Sergio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Omar Arias & Kevin F. Hallock & Walter Sosa Escudero, 1999. "Individual Heterogeneity in the Returns to Schooling: Instrumental Variables Quantile Regression using Twins Data," Department of Economics, Working Papers 016, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
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  7. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
  8. Knight, J. & Lina, S., 1990. "The Determinants Of Urban Income Inequality In China," Economics Series Working Papers 9991, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Jonathan Morduch & Terry Sicular, 2002. "Rethinking Inequality Decomposition, With Evidence from Rural China," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 93-106, January.
  10. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  11. Donald, Stephen G & Green, David A & Paarsch, Harry J, 2000. "Differences in Wage Distributions between Canada and the United States: An Application of a Flexible Estimator of Distribution Functions in the Presence of Covariates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 609-33, October.
  12. Björn Gustafsson & Shi Li, 2000. "Economic transformation and the gender earnings gap in urban China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 305-329.
  13. Xin Meng, 2004. "Economic Restructuring and Income Inequality in Urban China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 50(3), pages 357-379, 09.
  14. Björn Gustafsson & Li Shi, 2001. "The effects of transition on the distribution of income in China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 9(3), pages 593-617, November.
  15. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2005. "Has China crossed the river? The evolution of wage structure in urban China during reform and retrenchment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 644-663, December.
  16. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Rising Wage Inequality: The Role of Composition and Prices," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2096, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  17. Gustafsson, Bjorn & Shi, Li, 2001. "The Anatomy of Rising Earnings Inequality in Urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 118-135, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Campos, Raymundo & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lustig, Nora, 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Income Inequality in Mexico, 1989.2010," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Aurora Galego & João Pereira, 2013. "Decomposition of Regional Wage Differences Along the Wage Distribution in Portugal: the Importance of Covariates," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2013_16, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).
  3. Chi, Wei, 2012. "Capital income and income inequality: Evidence from urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 228-239.

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