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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Knight, John & Yueh, Linda, 2004. "Job mobility of residents and migrants in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 637-660, December.
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    3. Wan, Guanghua, 2002. "Regression-based Inequality Decomposition: Pitfalls and a Solution Procedure," WIDER Working Paper Series 101, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Jonathan Morduch & Terry Sicular, 2002. "Rethinking Inequality Decomposition, With Evidence from Rural China," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 93-106, January.
    5. John Knight & Lina Song, 2003. "Increasing urban wage inequality in China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(4), pages 597-619, December.
    6. Bourguignon, Francois & Fournier, M & Gurgand, M, 2001. "Fast Development with a Stable Income Distribution: Taiwan, 1979-94," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(2), pages 139-163, June.
    7. Wan, Guanghua, 2004. "Accounting for income inequality in rural China: a regression-based approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 348-363, June.
    8. Zhang, Junsen & Zhao, Yaohui & Park, Albert & Song, Xiaoqing, 2005. "Economic returns to schooling in urban China, 1988 to 2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 730-752, December.
    9. Xin Meng & Junsen Zhang & Pak-Wai Liu, 2000. "Sectoral gender wage differentials and discrimination in the transitional Chinese economy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 13(2), pages 331-352.
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    11. Linda Y. Yueh, 2004. "Wage Reforms in China During the 1990s," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 149-164, June.
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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.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:wyi:journl:002165 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.
    7. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings inequality; regression-based decompositions; urban China;

    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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