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The Great Chinese Inequality Turnaround

Listed author(s):
  • Kanbur, Ravi

    ()

    (Cornell University)

  • Wang, Yue

    ()

    (Cornell University)

  • Zhang, Xiaobo

    ()

    (Peking University)

This paper argues that after a quarter century of sharp and sustained increase, Chinese inequality is now plateauing and even turning down. The argument is made using a range of data sources and a range of measures and perspectives on inequality. The evolution of inequality is further examined through decomposition by income source and population subgroups. Preliminary explanations are provided for these trends in terms of shifts in policy and structural transformation of the Chinese economy. The narrative on Chinese inequality now needs to focus on the reasons for this great turnaround.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10635.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10635.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10635
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Paul, Satya, 2004. "Income sources effects on inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 435-451, February.
  2. Zhang, Xiaobo & Yang, Jin & Wang, Shenglin, 2011. "China has reached the Lewis turning point," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 542-554.
  3. Fleisher, Belton & Li, Haizheng & Zhao, Min Qiang, 2010. "Human capital, economic growth, and regional inequality in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 215-231, July.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Chi, Wei & Li, Bo & Yu, Qiumei, 2011. "Decomposition of the increase in earnings inequality in urban China: A distributional approach," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 299-312, September.
  7. Chen, Zhihong & Ge, Ying & Lai, Huiwen, 2011. "Foreign Direct Investment and Wage Inequality: Evidence from China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1322-1332, August.
  8. John Knight & LI Shi, 2016. "The Increasing Inequality of Wealth in China, 2002-2013," Economics Series Working Papers 816, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Zhang, Chuanchuan, 2015. "Income inequality and access to housing: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 261-271.
  10. Zhang, Chunni & Xu, Qi & Zhou, Xiang & Zhang, Xiaobo & Xie, Yu, 2014. "Are poverty rates underestimated in China? New evidence from four recent surveys," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 410-425.
  11. repec:wyi:journl:002165 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Chi, Wei, 2012. "Capital income and income inequality: Evidence from urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 228-239.
  13. Wan, Guanghua & Lu, Ming & Chen, Zhao, 2006. "The inequality-growth nexus in the short and long run: Empirical evidence from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 654-667, December.
  14. Li, Chao & Gibson, John, 2013. "Rising Regional Inequality in China: Fact or Artifact?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 16-29.
  15. John Knight, 2014. "Inequality in China: An Overview," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 29(1), pages 1-19.
  16. Ravi Kanbur & Juzhong Zhuang, 2013. "Urbanization and Inequality in Asia," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 30(1), pages 131-147, March.
  17. GOH, Chor-ching & LUO, Xubei & ZHU, Nong, 2009. "Income growth, inequality and poverty reduction: A case study of eight provinces in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 485-496, September.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Facundo Alvaredo & Lucas Chancel & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2017. "Global Inequality Dynamics: New Findings from WID.world," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 404-409, May.
  21. WANG, Zuxiang & SMYTH, Russell & NG, Yew-Kwang, 2009. "A new ordered family of Lorenz curves with an application to measuring income inequality and poverty in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 218-235, June.
  22. John Gibson & Chao Li, 2015. "The Erroneous Use of China's Population and per capita Data:A Structured Review and Critical Test," Working Papers in Economics 15/14, University of Waikato.
  23. 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.
  24. Chan, Kenneth S. & Zhou, Xianbo & Pan, Zhewen, 2014. "The growth and inequality nexus: The case of China," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 230-236.
  25. Li,Shi & Sato,Hiroshi & Sicular,Terry (ed.), 2013. "Rising Inequality in China," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107002913, December.
  26. Cheong, Tsun Se & Wu, Yanrui, 2014. "The impacts of structural transformation and industrial upgrading on regional inequality in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 339-350.
  27. repec:bla:jecsur:v:31:y:2017:i:4:p:905-922 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. 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.
  29. Shen, Yan & Yao, Yang, 2008. "Does grassroots democracy reduce income inequality in China?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2182-2198, October.
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