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Income distribution trends in Brazil and China: Evaluating absolute and relative economic growth

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  • Coes, Donald V.
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    Abstract

    Over the past two decades real per capita income has increased significantly in Brazil and spectacularly in China. Relative inequality in the distribution of income, however, has remained high in Brazil and has worsened in China. This paper uses a "stochastic dominance" approach to evaluate the welfare effects of a combination of rising mean per capita income in the context of worsening relative inequality. It concludes that by this criterion economic welfare in Brazil increased slightly in the 1981-2002 period. In China, the rapid increase in mean per capita was more than sufficient to overcome significantly increased relative inequality. Between 1985 and 2001 economic welfare thus increased substantially. The overall increase in welfare in both countries, however, is more complex when analyzed by consideration of specific time periods or by rural-urban decomposition.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance.

    Volume (Year): 48 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 359-369

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:quaeco:v:48:y:2008:i:2:p:359-369

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620167

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    References

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    1. Wu, Ximing & Perloff, Jeffrey M., 2004. "China's Income Distribution over Time: Reasons for Rising Inequality," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt166747gz, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    2. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    3. Hadar, Josef & Russell, William R, 1969. "Rules for Ordering Uncertain Prospects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 25-34, March.
    4. Foster, James E & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1988. "Poverty Orderings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 173-77, January.
    5. Menezes, C & Geiss, C & Tressler, J, 1980. "Increasing Downside Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 921-32, December.
    6. Cheng Fang & Eric Wailes & Gail Cramer, 1998. "China's Rural and Urban Household Survey Data: Collection, Availability, and Problems," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 98-wp202, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    7. Foster, James E. & Shorrocks, Anthony F., 1988. "Inequality and poverty orderings," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 654-661, March.
    8. Whitmore, G A, 1970. "Third-Degree Stochastic Dominance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 457-59, June.
    9. Hanoch, G & Levy, Haim, 1969. "The Efficiency Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(107), pages 335-46, July.
    10. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
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    Cited by:
    1. Angelos Liontakis & Christos T. Papadas & Irene Tzouramani, 2011. "Regional Economic Convergence in Greece: A Stochastic Dominance Approach," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1188, European Regional Science Association.

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