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Estimating Income Inequality in China Using Grouped Data and the Generalized Beta Distribution

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  • Chotikapanich, Duangkamon
  • Prasada Rao, D.S.
  • Tang, KamKi

Abstract

There are two main types of data sources of income distributions in China: household survey data and grouped data. Household survey data are typically available for isolated years and individual provinces. In comparison, aggregate or grouped data are typically available more frequently and usually have national coverage. In principle, grouped data allow investigation of the change of inequality over longer, continuous periods of time, and the identification of patterns of inequality across broader regions. Nevertheless, a major limitation of grouped data is that only mean (average) income and income shares of quintile or decile groups of the population are reported. Directly using grouped data reported in this format is equivalent to assuming that all individuals in a quintile or decile group have the same income. This potentially distorts the estimate of inequality within each region. The aim of this paper is to apply an improved econometric method designed to use grouped data to study income inequality in China. A generalized beta distribution is employed to model income inequality in China at various levels and periods of time. The generalized beta distribution is more general and flexible than the lognormal distribution that has been used in past research, and also relaxes the assumption of a uniform distribution of income within quintile and decile groups of populations. The paper studies the nature and extent of inequality in rural and urban China over the period 1978 to 2002. Income inequality in the whole of China is then modeled using a mixture of province-specific distributions. The estimated results are used to study the trends in national inequality, and to discuss the empirical findings in the light of economic reforms, regional policies, and globalization of the Chinese economy. Copyright � 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation � International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 2007.

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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 RP2006/134.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2006-134

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Keywords: Gini coefficient; generalized beta distribution; urban and rural inequality;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Richard Herd, 2013. "The evolution of China’s social policies," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 109-141, March.
  2. Ilenia Epifani & Rosella Nicolini, 2009. "On the density distribution across space: a probabilistic approach," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 776.09, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  3. Russell Smyth & Ingrid Nielsen & Qingguo Zhai, 2010. "Personal Well-being in Urban China," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 231-251, January.
  4. Guanghua Wan, 2012. "Towards Greater Equality in China: The Economic Growth Dividend," Working Papers 2012/33, Maastricht School of Management.
  5. Luo, Xubei & Zhu, Nong, 2008. "Rising income inequality in China : a race to the top," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4700, The World Bank.
  6. Sun, Ping & Unger, Jennifer B. & Palmer, Paula & Ma, Huiyan & Xie, Bin & Sussman, Steve & Johnson, C. Anderson, 2012. "Relative income inequality and selected health outcomes in urban Chinese youth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 84-91.
  7. Zhu, Nong & Luo, Xubei, 2008. "The impact of remittances on rural poverty and inequality in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4637, The World Bank.
  8. Ling, Davina C., 2009. "Do the Chinese "Keep up with the Jones"?: Implications of peer effects, growing economic disparities and relative deprivation on health outcomes among older adults in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 65-81, March.
  9. Ricardo Molero Simarro, 2012. "Primary Distribution, Top Incomes and Inequality in China, 1978-2007," Working Papers wp301, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  10. Lee, Jongchul, 2013. "Income Inequality In Urban China And The Role Of State Sector," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 54(2), pages 159-176, December.
  11. Lee, Jongchul, 2013. "A provincial perspective on income inequality in urban China and the role of property and business income," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 140-150.
  12. Headey, Derek & Bezemer, Dirk & Hazell, Peter B., 2008. "Agricultural exit problems: Causes and consequences," IFPRI discussion papers 802, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. David Warner & Prasada Rao & William E. Griffiths & Duangkamon Chotikapanich, 2011. "Global Inequality: Levels and Trends, 1993-2005," Discussion Papers Series 436, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  14. Guillén, Montserrat & Sarabia, José María & Prieto, Faustino, 2013. "Simple risk measure calculations for sums of positive random variables," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 273-280.
  15. Farhad Noorbakhsh & Zhikai Wang, 2010. "Interprovincial disparities in China since the reforms: convergence or divergence?," Working Papers 2010_11, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  16. Nong Zhu & Xubei Luo, 2014. "The Impact of migration on rural poverty and inequality: a case study in China," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-08, CIRANO.
  17. GOH, Chor-ching & LUO, Xubei & ZHU, Nong, 2009. "Income growth, inequality and poverty reduction: A case study of eight provinces in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 485-496, September.
  18. Kang Ernest Liu & Hung-Hao Chang & Wen S. Chern, 2011. "Examining changes in fresh fruit and vegetable consumption over time and across regions in urban China," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 276-296, September.
  19. Xiao Luo & Chor-Ching Goh & Nong Zhu, 2014. "Income Growth, Inequality and Poverty Reduction: A Case Study of Eight Provinces in China," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-03, CIRANO.
  20. WANG, Zuxiang & SMYTH, Russell & NG, Yew-Kwang, 2009. "A new ordered family of Lorenz curves with an application to measuring income inequality and poverty in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 218-235, June.

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