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China's (uneven) progress against poverty

  • Ravallion, Martin
  • Shaohua Chen

While the incidence of extreme poverty in China fell dramatically over 1980-2001, progress was uneven over time and across provinces. Rural areas accounted for the bulk of the gains to the poor, though migration to urban areas helped. The pattern of growth mattered. Rural economic growth was far more important to national poverty reduction than urban economic growth. Agriculture played a far more important role than the secondary or tertiary sources of gross domestic product (GDP). Rising inequality within the rural sector greatly slowed poverty reduction. Provinces starting with relatively high inequality saw slower progress against poverty, due both to lower growth and a lower growth elasticity of poverty reduction. Taxation of farmers and inflation hurt the poor. External trade had little short-term impact.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3408.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3408
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  1. Benjamin, Dwayne & Brandt, Loren & Giles, John, 2005. "The Evolution of Income Inequality in Rural China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(4), pages 769-824, July.
  2. Bardhan, Pranab & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 1999. "Wealth Inequality, Wealth Constraints and Economic Performance," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt3bh899fh, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Bourguignon, Francois & Morrisson, Christian, 1998. "Inequality and development: the role of dualism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 233-257.
  4. Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Does aggregation hide the harmful effects of inequality on growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 73-77, October.
  5. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 1996. "How Important to India's Poor Is the Sectoral Composition of Economic Growth?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 1-25, January.
  6. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Poverty and policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1130, The World Bank.
  7. 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.
  8. Ianchovichina, Elena & Martin, William, 2003. "Economic impacts of China's accession to the World Trade Organization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3053, The World Bank.
  9. Jian, Tianlun & Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 1996. "Trends in regional inequality in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-21.
  10. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1992. "Rural Reforms and Agricultural Growth in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 34-51, March.
  11. Kung James, Kaising, 1995. "Equal Entitlement versus Tenure Security under a Regime of Collective Property Rights: Peasants' Preference for Institutions in Post-reform Chinese Agriculture," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 82-111, August.
  12. Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10091, Paris Dauphine University.
  13. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. " Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
  14. Ravallion, Martin & Huppi, Monika, 1991. "Measuring Changes in Poverty: A Methodological Case Study of Indonesia during an Adjustment Period," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 57-82, January.
  15. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2000. "Inflation and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2335, The World Bank.
  16. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  17. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Data in transition: Assessing rural living standards in Southern China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 23-56.
  18. Chen, Jian & Fleisher, Belton M., 1996. "Regional Income Inequality and Economic Growth in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 141-164, April.
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