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China's Income Distribution, 1985-2001

  • Ximing Wu

    (Texas A&M University, Berkeley)

  • Jeffrey M. Perloff

    (University of California, Berkeley)

We employ a new method to estimate China's income distribution using publicly available interval summary statistics. We examine rural, urban, and overall income distributions from 1985 to 2001. We show how the distributions change directly, and we examine trends in inequality. Using an intertemporal decomposition of aggregate inequality, we determine that increases in inequality within rural and urban sectors and the growing rural-urban income gap have been equally responsible for the growth in overall inequality over the last two decades. However, the rural-urban gap has played an increasingly important role in recent years. We also show that the urban consumption inequality rose considerably. © 2005 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 87 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 763-775

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:87:y:2005:i:4:p:763-775
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  1. Wu, Ximing, 2003. "Calculation of maximum entropy densities with application to income distribution," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 347-354, August.
  2. Kakwani, Nanak C & Podder, N, 1976. "Efficient Estimation of the Lorenz Curve and Associated Inequality Measures from Grouped Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(1), pages 137-48, January.
  3. Gastwirth, Joseph L & Glauberman, Marcia, 1976. "The Interpolation of the Lorenz Curve and Gini Index from Grouped Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(3), pages 479-83, May.
  4. T. Paul Schultz, 2004. "Human resources in China: the birth quota, returns to schooling, and migration," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 245-267, October.
  5. 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.
  6. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
  7. Simon Kuznets, 1950. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn50-1, December.
  8. Mookherjee, Dilip & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1982. "A Decomposition Analysis of the Trend in UK Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 886-902, December.
  9. Golan, Amos & Judge, George G. & Miller, Douglas, 1996. "Maximum Entropy Econometrics," Staff General Research Papers 1488, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  10. Dale W. Jorgenson, 1998. "Did We Lose the War on Poverty?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 79-96, Winter.
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