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Decomposing changes in income inequality into vertical and horizontal redistribution and reranking, withapplications to China and Vietnam

  • Wagstaff, Adam

It is acknowledged that the lack of any systematic link between growth and income inequality does not necessarily mean that economic growth is not accompanied by major changes in the underlying income distribution. The author uses a method devised to decompose the redistributive effect of a tax to analyze the extent to which vertical redistribution associated with changing incomes over time is offset or reinforced by horizontal redistribution and re-ranking. He uses panel data from China and Vietnam over a period when both countries grew spectacularly as they transitioned from planned to market economies, and yet experienced smaller annual percentage increases in income inequality. The results suggest that substantial amounts of horizontal redistribution and re-ranking in both China-and to a lesser extent Vietnam-more than offset pro-poor vertical redistribution. Without the horizontal redistribution and re-ranking, the Gini coefficient for China might have fallen between 1989 and 1997-substantially so.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3559.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3559
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  1. Ravallion, Martin & Shaohua Chen, 2004. "China's (uneven) progress against poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3408, The World Bank.
  2. Lambert, Peter J & Aronson, J Richard, 1993. "Inequality Decomposition Analysis and the Gini Coefficient Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1221-27, September.
  3. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2004. "Gainers and losers from trade reform in Morocco," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3368, The World Bank.
  4. Branko Milanovic, 1999. "Explaining the increase in inequality during transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(2), pages 299-341, July.
  5. Ravallion, Martin, 2004. "Competing concepts of inequality in the globalization debate," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3243, The World Bank.
  6. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & van der Burg, Hattem & Calonge, Samuel & Christiansen, Terkel & Citoni, Guido & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gerfin, Michael & Gross, Lorna & Hakinnen, Unto, 1999. "Redistributive effect, progressivity and differential tax treatment: Personal income taxes in twelve OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 73-98, April.
  7. Schiller, Bradley R, 1977. "Relative Earnings Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 926-41, December.
  8. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Jalbert, Vincent & Araar, Abdelkrim, 2000. "Classical Horizontal Inequity and Reranking: an Integrated Approach," Cahiers de recherche 0002, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  9. Van Kerm, Philippe, 2003. "What Lies Behind Income Mobility? Reranking and Distributional Change in Belgium, Western Germany and the USA," IRISS Working Paper Series 2003-03, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  10. Jenkins, Stephen, 1988. "Calculating Income Distribution Indices from Micro-Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(1), pages 139-42, March.
  11. James J. Heckman & Xuesong Li, 2003. "Selection Bias, Comparative Advantage and Heterogeneous Returns to Education," NBER Working Papers 9877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. van de Ven, Justin & Creedy, John & Lambert, Peter J, 2001. " Close Equals and Calculation of the Vertical, Horizontal and Reranking Effects of Taxation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(3), pages 381-94, July.
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  14. Aronson, J Richard & Johnson, Paul & Lambert, Peter J, 1994. "Redistributive Effects and Unequal Income Tax Treatment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 262-70, March.
  15. Bob Baulch & John Hoddinott, 2000. "Economic mobility and poverty dynamics in developing countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 1-24.
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