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Chinese Poverty: Assessing The Impact Of Alternative Assumptions

  • Camelia Minoiu
  • Sanjay G. Reddy

This paper investigates how estimates of the extent and trend of consumption poverty in China between 1990 and 2004 vary as a result of alternative plausible assumptions concerning the poverty line and estimated levels of consumption. Our methodology focuses on the following sources of variation: purchasing power exchange rates (used to convert an international poverty line), alternative levels and distributions of private incomes, alternative estimates of the propensity to consume of different income groups, and alternative spatial and temporal price indices. We report national, urban and rural poverty estimates corresponding to distinct assumptions. It is widely believed that substantial poverty reduction took place in China in the 1990s, and we find this conclusion to be largely robust to the choice of assumptions, although estimates of the extent of Chinese poverty, and therefore of world poverty, in any year are greatly influenced by this choice. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 International Association for Research in Income and Wealth Published by Blackwell Publishing.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income and Wealth.

Volume (Year): 54 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 572-596

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:54:y:2008:i:4:p:572-596
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  1. Park, Albert & Wang, Sangui, 2001. "China's poverty statistics," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 384-398.
  2. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2004. "How Have the World's Poorest Fared since the Early 1980s?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 141-169.
  3. Yao, Shujie, 2000. "Economic Development and Poverty Reduction in China over 20 Years of Reforms," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(3), pages 447-74, April.
  4. John Gibson & Jikun Huang & Scott Rozelle, 2002. "Improving Estimates of Inequality and Poverty From Urban China’s Household Income and Expenditure Survey," Working Papers in Economics 02/01, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  5. Fang, Cheng & Zhang, Xiaobo & Fan, Shenggen, 2002. "Emergence of urban poverty and inequality in China: evidence from household survey," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 430-443, December.
  6. repec:oup:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:2:p:351-397 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Ravallion, Martin & Shaohua Chen, 2001. "Measuring pro-poor growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2666, The World Bank.
  8. Datt, Gaurav, 1998. "Computational tools for poverty measurement and analysis," FCND discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The World Distribution of Income (estimated from Individual Country Distributions)," NBER Working Papers 8933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Khan, Azizur Rahman & Riskin, Carl, 2001. "Inequality and Poverty in China in the Age of Globalization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195136494, July.
  11. Sanjay G. Reddy & Camelia Minoiu, 2007. "Has World Poverty Really Fallen?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(3), pages 484-502, 09.
  12. Ruoen, Ren & Chen Kai, 1995. "China's GDP in U.S. dollars based on purchasing power parity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1415, The World Bank.
  13. Jinjun Xue & Wei Zhong, 2003. "Unemployment, Poverty and Income Disparity in Urban China," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 383-405, December.
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