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Uncertainty, inequality and consumption preferences in urban China

  • Zhou, Jingkui
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    In this paper we present an uncertainty–inequality–consumption model and empirically investigate the effect of uncertainty on the consumption behaviors of urban households with varying levels of socio-economic status in China. We observe that the condition of households that suffered from socio-economic inequality with respect to total consumption, educational expenditures, medical expenditures, and durable consumption worsened relative to other households when faced with income uncertainty. Income uncertainty did not affect the housing consumption of households that suffered from socio-economic inequality, but it substantially decreased their ability to consume other durables. As a result of the introduction of the modern enterprise system and the reform of the housing distribution system, households with a member employed in a management position suffer larger shocks of income uncertainty in total consumption, educational expenditures, medical expenditures, and housing consumption relative to household with all members employed in worker positions in 2002. Uncertainty with respect to medical and educational expenditures had more substantial effects on the non-durables consumption of low-income households than that of other households in 2002.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Modelling.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 308-322

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:31:y:2013:i:c:p:308-322
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