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Income Inequality, Family Formation and Generational Mobility in Urban China

Listed author(s):
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Tongtong Hao
  • Maria Grazia Pittau
Registered author(s):

    Income inequality has increased in most developed and developing economies in the world in the last 30 years and China is exemplary in this regard. Many analyses of its strident growth in income inequality have focused on the effects of policies relating to Urban-Rural and Inland-Coastal distinctions. Yet income inequality growth has prevailed on both sides of those respective divides as though there is something more fundamental underlying the phenomenon. Here, by showing how specific types of change in family formation and specific types of human capital transfer engender increases in inequality measures, growth in urban inequality is rationalized as a consequence of the changing nature of the family and the structure of the human capital augmentation process that has been a feature of the last 70 years in China. Influenced by such events as the Cultural Revolution, the One Child Policy and the Economic Reforms, people changed the way they chose a marriage partner, invested in children and passed on human capital endowments. Social class designations became less important and educational class designations became more important. Using a unique data set linking grandparents, parents and children, such changes can be observed empirically.

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    Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-563.

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    Length: Unknown pages
    Date of creation: 22 Jul 2016
    Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-563
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    1. 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.
    2. Fields, Gary S. & Ok, Efe A., 1996. "The Meaning and Measurement of Income Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 349-377, November.
    3. Fang, Cheng & Zhang, Xiaobo & Fan, Shenggen, 2002. "Emergence of urban poverty and inequality in China: evidence from household survey," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 430-443, December.
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    5. Dennis Tao Yang, 1999. "Urban-Biased Policies and Rising Income Inequality in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 306-310, May.
    6. Wu, Ximing & Perloff, Jeffrey M., 2005. "China's Income Distribution, 1985-2001," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt0zd6m0sf, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    7. Meng, Xin & Gregory, Bob & Wang, Youjuan, 2005. "Poverty, Inequality, and Growth in Urban China, 1986-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 1452, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2007. "China's (uneven) progress against poverty," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-42, January.
    9. Zhong, Hai, 2011. "The impact of population aging on income inequality in developing countries: Evidence from rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 98-107, March.
    10. 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.
    11. Arnaud LEFRANC & Nicolas PISTOLESI & Alain TRANNOY, 2009. "Equality of opportunity and luck: Definitions and testable conditions, with an application to income in France," THEMA Working Papers 2009-01, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    12. Xin Meng, 2004. "Economic Restructuring and Income Inequality in Urban China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 50(3), pages 357-379, 09.
    13. Gustafsson, Bjorn & Shi, Li, 2002. "Income inequality within and across counties in rural China 1988 and 1995," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 179-204, October.
    14. 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.
    15. Formby, John P. & Smith, W. James & Zheng, Buhong, 2004. "Mobility measurement, transition matrices and statistical inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 181-205, May.
    16. Anderson, Gordon & Farcomeni, Alessio & Pittau, Maria Grazia & Zelli, Roberto, 2016. "A new approach to measuring and studying the characteristics of class membership: Examining poverty, inequality and polarization in urban China," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 191(2), pages 348-359.
    17. Anderson, Gordon & Leo, Teng Wah, 2013. "An empirical examination of matching theories: The one child policy, partner choice and matching intensity in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 468-489.
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