Labor market distortions, rural-urban inequality and the opening of China's economy
The authors evaluate the impact of two key factor market distortions in China on rural-urban inequality and income distribution. They find that creation of a fully functioning land market has a significant impact on rural-urban inequality. This reform permits agricultural households to focus solely on the differential between farm and non-farm returns to labor in determining whether to work on or off-farm. This gives rise to an additional 10 million people moving out of agriculture by 2007 and lends a significant boost to the incomes of those remaining in agriculture. This off-farm migration also contributes to a significant rise in rural-urban migration, thereby lowering urban wages, particularly for unskilled workers. As a consequence, rural-urban inequality declines significantly. The authors find that reform of the Hukou system has the most significant impact on aggregate economic activity, as well as income distribution. Whereas the land market reform primarily benefits the agricultural households, this reform's primary beneficiaries are the rural households currently sending temporary migrants to the city. By reducing the implicit tax on temporary migrants, Hukou reform boosts their welfare and contributes to increased rural-urban migration. The combined effect of both factor market reforms is to reduce the urban-rural income ratio dramatically, from 2.59 in 2007 under the authors'baseline scenario to 2.27. When viewed as a combined policy package, along with WTO accession, rather than increasing inequality in China, the combined impact of product and factor market reforms significantly reduces rural-urban income inequality. This is an important outcome in an economy currently experiencing historic levels of rural-urban inequality.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anderson, Kym & Huang, Jikun & Ianchovichina, Elena, 2003. "Long-run impacts of China's WTO accession on farm-nonfarm income inequality and rural poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3052, The World Bank.
- Yaohui Zhao, 1999. "Leaving the Countryside: Rural-to-Urban Migration Decisions in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 281-286, May.
- Elena Ianchovichina & Will Martin, 2004.
"Impacts of China's Accession to the World Trade Organization,"
World Bank Economic Review,
World Bank Group, vol. 18(1), pages 3-27.
- Ianchovichina, Elena & Martin, William, 2003. "Economic impacts of China's accession to the World Trade Organization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3053, The World Bank.
- Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2004. "Welfare Impacts of China's Accession to the World Trade Organization," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 18(1), pages 29-57.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:23:y:2006:i:1:p:76-109. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.