Understanding the Kuznets Process: An Empirical Investigation of Income Inequality in China 1978-2011
This paper investigates income inequality in the post-reform Chinese economy of 1978 to 2011. We identify a Kuznets inverted-U relationship between economic development and overall income inequality and provide evidence to suggest that this relationship was driven by the process of urbanization. We demonstrate that, after controlling for urbanization, low productivity in agriculture relative to that of the economy as a whole (dualism) was a significant contributing factor to income inequality. Inflation and the expansion of higher education are also found to have had an effect of widening inequality, but the effect of education does not appear to be robust.
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