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Rural-Urban Economic Disparities among China’s Elderly

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  • Maria Manuela Nêveda Da Costa

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  • Jianjun Ji

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    Abstract

    Some of the most controversial effects of China's post-1978 economic reforms have been on regional income disparities and on the divide between urban and rural development. How important are those income disparities? And how do they affect the elderly, who are perhaps the most vulnerable to the changes brought by China’s transition? What is the government’s role in providing income support? This paper examines the rural-urban disparities in income, expenditures, and government support among the elderly in China. We test for significant differences in levels and sources of income and in types of expenditures using a nationwide survey on rural and urban elderly conducted by China’s Elderly Scientific Research Center in 1992. This survey consists of two separate sets of responses, one for urban areas (9,889 respondents) and the other for rural areas (10,194 respondents), and provides demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics of the elderly. In addition, we propose to investigate the type and level of government income support programs at the local and state level. The findings are evaluated and policy implications discussed in the context of China’s transition to a market economy and choice of development strategies.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa04p444.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p444

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    1. Ge Lin, 2002. "Regional variation in family support for the elderly in China: a geodevelopmental perspective," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(9), pages 1617-1633, September.
    2. Hsiung, Bingyuang & Putterman, Louis, 1989. "Pre- and post-reform income distribution in a Chinese Commune: The case of dahe township in Hebei Province," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 406-445, September.
    3. Pudney, Stephen, 1993. "Income and Wealth Inequality and the Life Cycle: A Non-parametric Analysis for China," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 249-76, July-Sept.
    4. Zeng Yi & James W. Vaupel & Xiao Zhenyu & Zhang Chunyuan & Liu Yuzhi, 2002. "Sociodemographic and Health Profiles of the Oldest Old In China," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(2), pages 251-273.
    5. Keith Griffin & Azizur Rahman Khan & Carl Riskin, 1999. "Income Distribution in Urban China during the Period of Economic Reform and Globalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 296-300, May.
    6. Dennis Tao Yang, 1999. "Urban-Biased Policies and Rising Income Inequality in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 306-310, May.
    7. Naughton, Barry, 1994. "Chinese Institutional Innovation and Privatization from Below," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 266-70, May.
    8. Loren Brandt & Dwayne Benjamin, 1999. "Markets and Inequality in Rural China: Parallels with the Past," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 292-295, May.
    9. Kuan Xu, 2003. "How Has the Literature on Gini's Index Evolved in the Past 80 Years?," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive howgini, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
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