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Regional Price Differences in Urban China 1986-2001: Estimation and Implication

Author

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  • Gong, Cathy Honge

    () (University of Canberra)

  • Meng, Xin

    () (Australian National University)

Abstract

Despite the intensive efforts made by economists to examine regional income inequality in China, limited attention has been paid to disentangle the contribution of regional price differentials. This paper examines regional price differential in urban China over the period 1986 to 2001. Spatial Price Index (SPI) is normally calculated using the Basket Cost Method, which defines a national basket and measures price variation of this common basket across different regions. The weakness of this method is that it arbitrarily assumes consumers’ preferences and has a strong reliance on good regional level price data, which are often not available. This paper adopts the Engel’s curve approach to estimate a Spatial Price Index for different provinces. The SPI obtained from the Engel’s curve approach indicates larger regional price variations than those obtained from the Basket Cost method. Further, regional price variations in urban China increased significantly during the late 1980s to early 1990s, stabilized at a relatively high level during the mid to end 1990s. Adjusting for the regional price variations our finding suggests that regional income inequality increased the most between the late 1980s and early 1990s, and stabilized in the mid 1990s, which contradicts previous findings using unadjusted income.

Suggested Citation

  • Gong, Cathy Honge & Meng, Xin, 2008. "Regional Price Differences in Urban China 1986-2001: Estimation and Implication," IZA Discussion Papers 3621, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3621
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    Cited by:

    1. Gordon Anderson & Alessio Farcomeni & Grazia Pittau & Roberto Zelli, 2014. "A new approach to measuring and studying the characteristics of class membership: The progress of poverty, inequality and polarization of income classes in urban China," Working Papers tecipa-521, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    2. Jeffrey Zax, 2016. "Provincial valuations of human capital in urban China, inter-regional inequality and the implicit value of a Guangdong hukou," ERSA conference papers ersa16p693, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Almås, Ingvild & Johnsen, Åshild Auglænd, 2012. "The cost of living in China: Implications for inequality and poverty," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 21/2012, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    4. Xin Meng & Kailing Shen & Sen Xue, 2010. "Economic Reform, Education Expansion, and Earnings Inequality for Urban Males in China, 1988-2007," CEPR Discussion Papers 639, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    5. Ingvild Almas & Anders Kjelsrud & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "A Behaviour-Based Approach To The Estimation Of Poverty In India," Working papers 226, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    6. Bettina Aten & Marshall Reinsdorf, 2010. "Comparing the Consistency of Price Parities for Regions of the U.S. in an Economic Approach Framework," BEA Papers 0098, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    7. Mazyaki, Ali & Davodi, Pedram, 2014. "Decomposition of welfare distribution in Iran," MPRA Paper 59552, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Robert J. Hill & Iqbal A. Syed, 2012. "Accounting for Unrepresentative Products and Urban-Rural Price Differences in International Comparisons of Real Income: An Application to the Asia-Pacific Region," Graz Economics Papers 2012-07, University of Graz, Department of Economics.
    9. Angus Deaton & Alan Heston, 2010. "Understanding PPPs and PPP-Based National Accounts," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, pages 1-35.
    10. Almås, Ingvild & Johnsen, Åshild Auglænd & Kotsadam, Andreaa, 2014. "Poverty in China Seen from Outer Space," Memorandum 11/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    11. Chao Li & John Gibson, 2014. "Spatial Price Differences and Inequality in the People's Republic of China: Housing Market Evidence," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 31(1), pages 92-120, March.
    12. Robert J. Hill & Iqbal Syed, 2010. "Improving International Comparisons of Real Output: The ICP 2005 Benchmark and its Implications for China," Discussion Papers 2010-25, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    13. Cook, Jonathan Aaron, 2013. "Does Chinese Inflation Understate Cost of Living?," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150571, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    14. Riccardo Massari & M. Grazia Pittau & Roberto Zelli, 2010. "Does regional cost-of-living reshuffle Italian income distribution?," Working Papers 166, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    15. Chao Li & John Gibson, 2013. "Spatial Price Differences and Inequality in China: Housing Market Evidence," Working Papers in Economics 13/06, University of Waikato.

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    Keywords

    spatial price index; Engel’s curve; income inequality; China;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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