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Explaining the Changes of Income Distribution in China

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  • Lixin Colin Xu

    (Development Research Group, the World Bank)

  • Heng-fu Zou

    (Guanghua School of Management, Peking University
    Institute for Advanced Study, Wuhan University
    Development Research Group, the World Bank)

Abstract

China has experienced one of the most remarkable increase in inequality over the last decade: the Gini coefficient increasing from 25.7 in 1984 to 37.8 in 1992. Using the recent developments in the theory of income distribution (Benerjee and Newman, 1993; Galor and Zeira, 1993) and a new panel data set about Chinese provincial-urban-level income inequality, this paper finds that inequality increased with the reduction of the share of state-owned enterprises in GDP, high inflation, growth, and (less significantly) the increasing exposure to foreign trade. We also find some evidence for the Director¡¯s Law: income redistribution tends to shift resources from the rich and the poor to the middle class. We do not find schooling and urbanization to be a significant explanatory factor.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics in its series CEMA Working Papers with number 473.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in China Economic Review, Volume 11, Issue 2, December 2000, Pages 149-170
Handle: RePEc:cuf:wpaper:473

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Web page: http://cema.cufe.edu.cn/
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  1. Atkinson, A-B, 1996. "Bringing Income Distribution in from the Cold," Economics Papers 117, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Caselli, G & Ventura, J, 1996. "A Representative Consumer Theory of Distribution," Papers 534, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
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  7. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  8. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  9. Stigler, George J, 1970. "Director's Law of Public Income Redistribution," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-10, April.
  10. Bénabou, Roland, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Qinghua Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 2011. "Regional Inequality in Contemporary China," CEMA Working Papers 518, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Esfandiar Maasoumi & Le Wang, 2008. "Economic Reform, Growth and Convergence in China," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 11(1), pages 128-154, 03.
  3. Almas Heshmati, 2006. "Continental And Sub-Continental Income Inequality," The IUP Journal of Applied Economics, IUP Publications, vol. 0(1), pages 7-52, January.
  4. Ding, Ning & Wang, Yougui, 2008. "Household income mobility in China and its decomposition," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 373-380, September.
  5. Feng, Zhixin & Wang, Wenfei Winnie & Jones, Kelvyn & Li, Yaqing, 2012. "An exploratory multilevel analysis of income, income inequality and self-rated health of the elderly in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2481-2492.
  6. Pedro H. Albuquerque, 2004. "Inequality-Driven Growth: Unveiling Aggregation Effects in Growth Equations," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 769, Econometric Society.
  7. Tsun Se Cheong & Yanrui Wu, 2013. "Globalization and Regional Inequality," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 13-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  8. Li, Yan & DaCosta, Maria N., 2013. "Transportation and income inequality in China: 1978–2007," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 56-71.
  9. Wei, Kailei & Yao, Shujie & Liu, Aying, 2008. "Foreign Direct Investment and Regional Inequality in China," Working Paper Series RP2008/94, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  10. Guggiola Gabriele, 2009. "A Political Economy Perspective of the Chinese Government Tactical Behavior," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200908, University of Turin.
  11. Saccone Donatella, 2011. "Potenze economiche emergenti: Cina e India a confronto.Istruzione e diseguaglianze," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201113, University of Turin.
  12. Xuemei Bai & Gang Li, 2004. "Industrial Productivity Convergence in China," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 155-168.
  13. Knight, John & Shi, Li & Renwei, Zhao, 2004. "Divergent Means and Convergent Inequality of Incomes among the Provinces and Cities of Urban China," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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