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Relative Deprivation in China

  • Chen, Xi
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Relative deprivation (RD), also known as relative poverty , an idea implicitly put forward by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations and formally conceptualized by Runciman (1966), refers to the discontent people feel when they compare their positions to others and realize that others in the group possess something that they do not have. RD is important to Chinese people as reflected in the traditional saying “it is better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix”, indicating that taking a relatively good position benefits people in the Chinese society. RD is also a pressing issue for China after its three decade unprecedented economic growth accompanied by inequalities at historically high levels. This entry reviews key measures of RD and empirical findings for China. I also discuss some of the most pressing policy issues with regard to RD.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 48582.

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Date of creation: 08 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48582
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  1. Ulf-G. Gerdtham & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Absolute Income, Relative Income, Income Inequality, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  2. Li, Hongbin & Zhu, Yi, 2006. "Income, income inequality, and health: Evidence from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 668-693, December.
  3. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2010. "Who cares about relative deprivation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 171-185, February.
  4. Cooper, Ben & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Funk, Peter, 2001. "Status Effects and Negative Utility Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 642-65, July.
  5. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2012. "Costly Posturing: Relative Status, Ceremonies and Early Child Development in China," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  7. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Kanbur, Ravi, 2012. "PEER EFFECTS, RISK POOLING, AND STATUS SEEKING: What Explains Gift Spending Escalation in Rural China?," Working Papers 128797, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  8. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2006. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers 5968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen, 2011. "Weakly Relative Poverty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1251-1261, November.
  10. Carlsson, Fredrik & Qin, Ping, 2010. "It is better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix: Concern for relative standing in rural China," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 180-186, April.
  11. Jin, Ye & Wu, Binzhen & Li, Hongbin, 2010. "Income Inequality, Status Seeking, and Consumption," MPRA Paper 22641, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 May 2010.
  12. Eiji Mangyo & Albert Park, 2011. "Relative Deprivation and Health: Which Reference Groups Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 459-481.
  13. Angus Deaton, 2001. "Relative Deprivation, Inequality, and Mortality," NBER Working Papers 8099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Brown, Philip H. & Bulte, Erwin & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Positional spending and status seeking in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 139-149, September.
  15. Wildman, John, 2003. "Modelling health, income and income inequality: the impact of income inequality on health and health inequality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 521-538, July.
  16. KNIGHT, John & SONG, Lina & GUNATILAKA, Ramani, 2009. "Subjective well-being and its determinants in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 635-649, December.
  17. Stark, Oded & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1988. "Labour Migration as a Response to Relative Deprivation," MPRA Paper 21670, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Wildman, John, 2003. "Income related inequalities in mental health in Great Britain: analysing the causes of health inequality over time," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 295-312, March.
  19. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-24, May.
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