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Income Inequality in Rural China: Regression-based Decomposition Using Household Data

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  • Wan, Guanghua
  • Zhou, Zhangyue

Abstract

A considerable literature exists on the measurement of income inequality in China and its increasing trend. Much less is known about the driving forces of this trend and their quantitative contributions. Conventional decompositions, by factor components or by population subgroups, provide only limited information on the determinants of income inequality. This paper represents an early attempt to apply the regression-based decomposition framework to the study of inequality accounting in rural China, using household-level data. It is found that geography has been the dominant factor but is becoming less important in explaining total inequality. Capital input emerges as a most significant determinant of income inequality. Farming structure is more important than labor and other inputs in contributing to income inequality across households. Copyright United Nations University 2005.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number UNU-WIDER Research Paper RP2004/51.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2004-51

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Keywords: inequality decomposition; regression; income generating function; China;

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References

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  1. Guang Wan & Enjiang Cheng, 2001. "Effects of land fragmentation and returns to scale in the Chinese farming sector," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 183-194.
  2. Adams, Richard H., Jr, 1999. "Nonfarm income, inequality, and land in Rural Egypt," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2178, The World Bank.
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  8. Fields, Gary S & Yoo, Gyeongjoon, 2000. "Falling Labor Income Inequality in Korea's Economic Growth: Patterns and Underlying Causes," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(2), pages 139-59, June.
  9. Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 1999. "Which Regional Inequality? The Evolution of Rural-Urban and Inland-Coastal Inequality in China from 1983 to 1995," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 686-701, December.
  10. Wan, Guanghua, 2004. "Accounting for income inequality in rural China: a regression-based approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 348-363, June.
  11. Xiaobo Zhang & Kevin Zhang, 2003. "How Does Globalisation Affect Regional Inequality within A Developing Country? Evidence from China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 47-67.
  12. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  13. Bourguignon, Francois, 1979. "Decomposable Income Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 901-20, July.
  14. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-25, April.
  15. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1993. "The Spatial Contribution to Income Inequality in Rural China," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 195-213, June.
  16. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1999. " When Economic Reform Is Faster Than Statistical Reform: Measuring and Explaining Income Inequality in Rural China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(1), pages 33-56, February.
  17. Shujie Yao, 1997. "Industrialization and spatial income inequality in rural China, 1986-92," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 5(1), pages 97-112, 05.
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