IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/pocoec/v24y2012i1p15-37.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

An analysis of income polarisation in rural and urban China

Author

Listed:
  • Céline Bonnefond
  • Matthieu Clément

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to contribute to the analysis of Chinese income inequality by focusing more specifically on income polarisation, which captures both alienation (i.e. heterogeneity between income groups) and identification (i.e. homogeneity within groups). The empirical investigations conducted as part of this research are based on the China Health and Nutrition Survey data from 1989 to 2006 and indicate that Chinese household income is strongly polarised. After a period of stagnation between 1989 and 1997, the degree of polarisation increased significantly between 1997 and 2006, indicating the constitution of identified groups in middle and upper income ranges. Although the level of income polarisation is higher in rural areas, the increase in polarisation is far more conspicuous in urban areas, suggesting that the risk of social tensions is more pregnant in Chinese cities. The analysis of the sources of income polarisation in rural areas shows that the increase in polarisation is closely linked to non-agricultural opportunities. In urban areas the emergence of identified groups in middle and upper income classes can be explained both by the sharp decline in subsidies and by the liberalisation of the urban labour market and state enterprises.

Suggested Citation

  • Céline Bonnefond & Matthieu Clément, 2012. "An analysis of income polarisation in rural and urban China," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 15-37, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pocoec:v:24:y:2012:i:1:p:15-37
    DOI: 10.1080/14631377.2012.647972
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/14631377.2012.647972
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Isaias H. Salgado-Ugarte & Marco A. Perez-Hernandez, 2003. "Exploring the use of variable bandwidth kernel density estimators," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(2), pages 133-147, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    4. Gradin, Carlos, 2000. "Polarization by Sub-populations in Spain, 1973-91," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(4), pages 457-474, December.
    5. Jenkins, Stephen P., 1995. "Did the middle class shrink during the 1980s? UK evidence from kernel density estimates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 407-413, October.
    6. Renard, Mary-Francoise, 2002. "A pessimistic view on the impact of regional inequalities," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 341-344, December.
    7. Xiaolan Fu & V. N. Balasubramanyam, 2003. "Township and Village Enterprises in China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 27-46.
    8. Marron, J.S. & Schmitz, H.-P., 1992. "Simultaneous Density Estimation of Several Income Distributions," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(04), pages 476-488, December.
    9. Benjamin, Dwayne & Brandt, Loren & Giles, John, 2005. "The Evolution of Income Inequality in Rural China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(4), pages 769-824, July.
    10. Abdelkrim Araar, 2008. "On the Decomposition of Polarization Indices: Illustrations with Chinese and Nigerian Household Surveys," Cahiers de recherche 0806, CIRPEE.
    11. Guanghua Wan & Zhangyue Zhou, 2005. "Income Inequality in Rural China: Regression-based Decomposition Using Household Data," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 107-120, February.
    12. Joan Esteban & Carlos Gradín & Debraj Ray, 2007. "An Extension of a Measure of Polarization, with an application to the income distribution of five OECD countries," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, April.
    13. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2004. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1737-1772, November.
    14. Demurger, Sylvie & Fournier, Martin & Li, Shi, 2006. "Urban income inequality in China revisited (1988-2002)," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 354-359, December.
    15. Terry Sicular & Yue Ximing & Björn Gustafsson & Li Shi, 2007. "The Urban-Rural Income Gap And Inequality In China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(1), pages 93-126, March.
    16. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2009. "The Distribution of Income and Well-Being in Rural China: A Survey of Panel Data Sets, Studies and New Directions," MPRA Paper 20587, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Kai-yuen, Tsui, 1998. "Factor Decomposition of Chinese Rural Income Inequality: New Methodology, Empirical Findings, and Policy Implications," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 502-528, September.
    18. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & John Giles & Sangui Wang, 2005. "Income Inequality During China's Economic Transition," Working Papers tecipa-238, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    19. Leonardo Gasparini & Matías Horenstein & Sergio Olivieri, 2006. "Economic Polarisation in Latin America and the Caribbean: What do Household Surveys Tell Us?," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0038, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    20. Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 1999. "Which Regional Inequality? The Evolution of Rural-Urban and Inland-Coastal Inequality in China from 1983 to 1995," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 686-701, December.
    21. Hare, Denise, 1994. "Rural nonagricultural activities and their impact on the distribution of income: Evidence from farm households in Southern China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 59-82.
    22. Xin Meng, 2004. "Economic Restructuring and Income Inequality in Urban China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 50(3), pages 357-379, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Bonnefond, Céline & Clément, Matthieu, 2014. "Social class and body weight among Chinese urban adults: The role of the middle classes in the nutrition transition," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 22-29.
    2. Esfandiar Maasoumi & Almas Heshmati, 2013. "Analysis of Stochastic Dominance Ranking of Chinese Income Distributions by Household Attributes," Emory Economics 1308, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    3. Céline Bonnefond & Matthieu Clément & François Combarnous, 2015. "In search of the elusive Chinese urban middle class: an exploratory analysis," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 41-59, March.
    4. Wang, Chen & Wan, Guanghua, 2015. "Income polarization in China: Trends and changes," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 58-72.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
    • R20 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:taf:pocoec:v:24:y:2012:i:1:p:15-37. 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: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/CPCE20 .

    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.