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Relative Deprivation in China

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  • Chen, Xi
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Abstract

Relative deprivation (RD), also known as relative poverty , an idea implicitly put forward by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations and formally conceptualized by Runciman (1966), refers to the discontent people feel when they compare their positions to others and realize that others in the group possess something that they do not have. RD is important to Chinese people as reflected in the traditional saying “it is better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix”, indicating that taking a relatively good position benefits people in the Chinese society. RD is also a pressing issue for China after its three decade unprecedented economic growth accompanied by inequalities at historically high levels. This entry reviews key measures of RD and empirical findings for China. I also discuss some of the most pressing policy issues with regard to RD.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 48582.

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Date of creation: 08 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48582

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Keywords: Relative Deprivation; Inequality; Poverty; China;

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  1. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2005. "Who cares about relative deprivation ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3782, The World Bank.
  2. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Kanbur, Ravi, 2012. "PEER EFFECTS, RISK POOLING, AND STATUS SEEKING: What Explains Gift Spending Escalation in Rural China?," Working Papers 128797, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  3. Jin, Ye & Wu, Binzhen & Li, Hongbin, 2010. "Income Inequality, Status Seeking, and Consumption," MPRA Paper 22641, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 May 2010.
  4. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2012. "Costly Posturing: Relative Status, Ceremonies and Early Child Development in China," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  5. Eiji Mangyo & Albert Park, 2011. "Relative Deprivation and Health: Which Reference Groups Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 459-481.
  6. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
  7. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-24, May.
  8. Cooper, B. & Garcia-Penalosa, C., 1998. "Status Effects and Neganive Utility Growth," Economics Papers 150, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  9. John Knight & Lina Song, 2007. "Subjective Well-being and its Determinants in Rural China," Economics Series Working Papers 334, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. Wildman, John, 2003. "Modelling health, income and income inequality: the impact of income inequality on health and health inequality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 521-538, July.
  11. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2009. "Weakly relative poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4844, The World Bank.
  12. Hongbin Li & Yi Zhu, 2004. "Income, Income Inequality, and Health: Evidence from China," Discussion Papers 00006, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  13. Ulf-G. Gerdtham & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Absolute Income, Relative Income, Income Inequality, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  14. Brown, Philip H. & Bulte, Erwin & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Positional spending and status seeking in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 139-149, September.
  15. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  16. Wildman, John, 2003. "Income related inequalities in mental health in Great Britain: analysing the causes of health inequality over time," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 295-312, March.
  17. Angus Deaton, 2001. "Relative Deprivation, Inequality, and Mortality," NBER Working Papers 8099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Carlsson, Fredrik & Qin, Ping, 2010. "It is better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix: Concern for relative standing in rural China," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 180-186, April.
  19. Stark, Oded & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1988. "Labour Migration as a Response to Relative Deprivation," MPRA Paper 21670, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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