IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Globalization, decentralization and income inequality: The case of China


  • Mah, Jai S.


The current study examines the effect of trade liberalization and expansion of foreign direct investment inflows, together with the pursuit of decentralization, on China's income inequality between 1985 and 2007. As the degrees of integration of the concerned variables are revealed to be different,Stock and Watson (1993) dynamic ordinary least squares method is employed to reveal the cointegrating relationship. The empirical evidence shows that trade liberalization has led to the higher income inequality, discrediting the Stolper–Samuelson theorem in international trade. There is mixed evidence relating to the effect of FDI inflows on income inequality. Decentralization is shown not to influence it.

Suggested Citation

  • Mah, Jai S., 2013. "Globalization, decentralization and income inequality: The case of China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 653-658.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:31:y:2013:i:c:p:653-658 DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2012.09.054

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Gonzaga, Gustavo & Menezes Filho, Naercio & Terra, Cristina, 2006. "Trade liberalization and the evolution of skill earnings differentials in Brazil," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 345-367, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Wei, Shang-Jin & Wu, Yi, 2001. "Globalization and Inequality: Evidence from within China," CEPR Discussion Papers 3088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Meng, Xin & Gregory, Robert & Wang, Youjuan, 2005. "Poverty, inequality, and growth in urban China, 1986-2000," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 710-729, December.
    6. Chiquiar, Daniel, 2008. "Globalization, regional wage differentials and the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 70-93, January.
    7. Qiao, Baoyun & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & Xu, Yongsheng, 2008. "The tradeoff between growth and equity in decentralization policy: China's experience," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 112-128, April.
    8. Dong, Xiao-Yuan, 2005. "Wage inequality and between-firm wage dispersion in the 1990s: A comparison of rural and urban enterprises in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 664-687, December.
    9. Paolo Figini & Holger Görg, 1999. "Multinational companies and wage inequality in the host country: The case of Ireland," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 135(4), pages 594-612, December.
    10. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1993. "A Simple Estimator of Cointegrating Vectors in Higher Order Integrated Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 783-820, July.
    11. Bigsten, Arne & Durevall, Dick, 2006. "Openness and wage inequality in Kenya, 1964-2000," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 465-480, March.
    12. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
    13. Spilimbergo, Antonio & Londono, Juan Luis & Szekely, Miguel, 1999. "Income distribution, factor endowments, and trade openness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 77-101, June.
    14. Beyer, Harald & Rojas, Patricio & Vergara, Rodrigo, 1999. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 103-123, June.
    15. Galiani, Sebastian & Sanguinetti, Pablo, 2003. "The impact of trade liberalization on wage inequality: evidence from Argentina," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 497-513, December.
    16. Ravi Kanbur & Xiaobo Zhang, 2005. "Fifty Years of Regional Inequality in China: a Journey Through Central Planning, Reform, and Openness," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 87-106, February.
    17. Gustafsson, Bjorn & Shi, Li, 2001. "The Anatomy of Rising Earnings Inequality in Urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 118-135, March.
    18. Tahir Abdi, 2007. "Trade liberalization, technology, relative factor supplies and the relative wage: evidence from the South," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(19), pages 2451-2463.
    19. Barro, Robert J, 2000. "Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
    20. Alyson C. Ma, 2006. "Geographical Location of Foreign Direct Investment and Wage Inequality in China," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 1031-1055, August.
    21. Zhao, Yaohui, 2001. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: The case of China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 40-57.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Aslim, Erkmen Giray & Neyapti, Bilin, 2017. "Optimal fiscal decentralization: Redistribution and welfare implications," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 224-234.
    2. Chien-Chiang Lee & Chi-Chuan Lee & Chun-Ping Chang, 2015. "Globalization, Economic Growth and Institutional Development in China," Global Economic Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 31-63, March.
    3. Ahmed, Wasim & Hussain, Safdar & Jafar, Rana Muhammad Sohail & Guang-Ju, Wang & Rabnawaz, Ambar & Saqib, Zulkaif Ahmed & JianZhou, Yang, 2016. "Impacts of Trade Liberalization on Dairy Industry in China," MPRA Paper 70385, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Globalization; Decentralization; Income inequality; China;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:31:y:2013:i:c:p:653-658. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.