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Globalization and the Urban Poor in China

  • Zhang, Yin
  • Wan, Guanghua

This paper examines the distributional impact of globalization on the poor in urban China. Employing the kernel density estimation technique, we recovered from irregularly grouped household survey data the income distributions of 29 Chinese provinces for 1988–2001. Panels of the income shares of the poorest 20, 10 and 5 per cent of the urban residents were then compiled. In a fixed-effect model, two of the central conclusions of Dollar and Kraay (2002) – that ‘the incomes of the poor rise equi-proportionately with average income’ and that trade openness has little distributional effect on poverty – were revisited. Our results lend little support to either of the Dollar-Kraay conclusions, but instead indicate that average income growth is associated with worsening income distribution while globalization in general, and trade openness in particular, raises the income shares of the poor. It is also found that openness to trade and openness to FDI have differential distributional effects. The beneficial effect of trade was not restricted to the coastal provinces, but weakened significantly after 1992. These findings are robust to allowing for nonlinearity in the effect of globalization and to controlling for the influence of several other variables.

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File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/stc/repec/pdfs/rp2006/rp2006-42.pdf
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Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number RP2006/42.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2006-42
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  1. Sylvie Démurger & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo & Shuming Bao & Gene Chang & Andrew Mellinger, 2002. "Geography, Economic Policy, and Regional Development in China," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 146-197.
  2. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The Disturbing "Rise" of Global Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Galí, Jordi & Monacelli, Tommaso, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Volatility in a Small Open Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3346, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Antonio Spilimbergo & Juan Luis Londoño & Miguel Székely, 1997. "Income Distribution, Factor Endowments, and Trade Openness," Research Department Publications 4088, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  5. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2000. "Inflation and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2335, The World Bank.
  6. Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Looking Beyond Averages in the Trade and Poverty Debate," Working Paper Series RP2005/29, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Inequality convergence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2645, The World Bank.
  8. Loren Brandt & Carsten Holz, 2005. "Spatial Price Differences in China: Estimates and Implications," Microeconomics 0512001, EconWPA.
  9. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
  10. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. " Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
  11. Branko Milanovic, 2003. "The Ricardian Vice: Why Sala-i-Martin’s calculations of world income inequality are wrong," HEW 0305003, EconWPA.
  12. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Inequality, Growth, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 7038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Wan, Guanghua & Lu, Ming & Chen, Zhao, 2004. "Globalization and Regional Income Inequality: Evidence from within China," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  14. Keith Griffin & Azizur Rahman Khan & Carl Riskin, 1999. "Income Distribution in Urban China during the Period of Economic Reform and Globalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 296-300, May.
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