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What Lies behind Rising Earnings Inequality in Urban China? Regression-based Decompositions

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  • Deng Quheng
  • Li Shi

Abstract

Coupled with advances in enterprise reform and changes in the wage structure, earnings inequality in urban China has been increasing, and this has contributed significantly to rising income inequality. Using urban household survey data from the 1988, 1995 and 2002 waves of the China Household Income Project, in this paper, we decompose earnings inequality in urban China by using the regression-based decomposition methods developed by Fields (1998), Morduch and Sicular (2002) and Shorrocks (1999). The decomposition results indicate that the effects of gender and membership of the Communist Party of China on earnings inequality have changed little. While work experience had a reduced effect on earnings inequality, the effects of education and occupation have increased. The contributions of ownership status and industry to earnings inequality have increased. Regional effects have been the largest recent contributor to earnings inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Deng Quheng & Li Shi, 2009. "What Lies behind Rising Earnings Inequality in Urban China? Regression-based Decompositions," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-021, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hst:ghsdps:gd08-021
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    Cited by:

    1. Magnani, Elisabetta & Zhu, Rong, 2012. "Gender wage differentials among rural–urban migrants in China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 779-793.
    2. Meng, Xin & Shen, Kailing & Xue, Sen, 2013. "Economic reform, education expansion, and earnings inequality for urban males in China, 1988–2009," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 227-244.
    3. Xin Meng & Chris Manning & Li Shi & Tadjuddin Nur Effendi (ed.), 2010. "The Great Migration," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13619, September.
    4. Gustafsson, Björn & Wan, Haiyuan, 2020. "Wage growth and inequality in urban China: 1988–2013," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    5. Björn Gustafsson & Haiyuan Wan, 2018. "Wage growth and inequality in urban China: 1988-2013," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-163, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Xue, Jinjun & Gao, Wenshu & Guo, Lin, 2014. "Informal employment and its effect on the income distribution in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 84-93.
    7. Cathy Yang Liu & Wen Xie, 2013. "Creativity and Inequality: The Dual Path of China's Urban Economy?," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(4), pages 608-630, December.
    8. Zhao Chen & Ming Lu & Guanghua Wan, 2010. "Inter-Industry Wage Differentials: An Increasingly Important Contributor to Urban China Income Inequality," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-130, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    9. Shi Li & Terry Sicular & Finn Tarp, 2018. "Inequality in China: Development, transition, and policy," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-174, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. repec:wyi:journl:002165 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Shi Li & Terry Sicular & Finn Tarp, 2018. "Inequality in China: Development, transition, and policy," WIDER Working Paper Series 174, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    12. Björn Gustafsson & Haiyuan Wan, 2018. "Wage growth and inequality in urban China: 1988–2013," WIDER Working Paper Series 163, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings inequality; regression-based decompositions; urban China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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