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Inequality in China : an overview

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  • Knight, John

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of research on income inequality in China over the period of economic reform. It presents the results of two main sources of evidence on income inequality and, assisted by various decompositions, explains the reasons income inequality has increased rapidly and the Gini coefficient is now almost 0.5. This paper evaluates the degree of income inequality from the perspectives of people's subjective well-being and government concerns. It poses the following question: has income inequality peaked? It also discusses the policy implications of the analysis. The concluding comments of this paper propose a research agenda and suggest possible lessons from China's experience that may be useful for other developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Knight, John, 2013. "Inequality in China : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6482, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6482
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Knight, John & Ding, Sai, 2012. "China's Remarkable Economic Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199698691, November.
    2. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi & Knight, John, 2007. "Community, comparisons and subjective well-being in a divided society," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 69-90, September.
    3. Li, Chao & Gibson, John, 2013. "Rising Regional Inequality in China: Fact or Artifact?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 16-29.
    4. John Knight & Li Shi & Deng Quheng, 2010. "Education and the Poverty Trap in Rural China: Closing the Trap," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(1), pages 1-24.
    5. Fan, Shenggen & Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2010. "China’s Regional Disparities: Experience and Policy," Working Papers 57041, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    6. Xin Meng & Chris Manning & Li Shi & Tadjuddin Nur Effendi (ed.), 2010. "The Great Migration," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13619.
    7. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2011. "Does Economic Growth Raise Happiness in China?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 1-24.
    8. Xiaobo Zhang & Kevin Honglin Zhang, 2002. "Regional Inequality," Chapters, in: Shang-Jin Wei & Guanzhong James Wen & Huizhong Zhou (ed.), The Globalization of the Chinese Economy, chapter 8, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Ravi Kanbur & Xiaobo Zhang, 2005. "Fifty Years of Regional Inequality in China: a Journey Through Central Planning, Reform, and Openness," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 87-106, February.
    10. Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Does aggregation hide the harmful effects of inequality on growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 73-77, October.
    11. Fan, Shenggen & Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2008. "Regional Inequality In China: An Overview," Working Papers 51157, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
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    13. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
    14. 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.
    15. Simon Appleton & John Knight & Lina Song & Qingjie Xia, 2004. "Contrasting paradigms: segmentation and competitiveness in the formation of the chinese labour market," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(3), pages 185-205.
    16. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1999. "The Rural-Urban Divide: Economic Disparities and Interactions in China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293309, November.
    17. Albert O. Hirschman & Michael Rothschild, 1973. "The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic DevelopmentWith A Mathematical Appendix," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 544-566.
    18. John Knight & Linda Yueh, 2002. "The Role of Social Capital in the Labour Market in China," Economics Series Working Papers 121, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    19. Xiaolu Wang & Wing Thye Woo, 2011. "The Size and Distribution of Hidden Household Income in China," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 10(1), pages 1-26, Winter/Sp.
    20. Carol Graham & Andrew Felton, 2006. "Inequality and happiness: Insights from Latin America," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 107-122, April.
    21. LAU, Chi Keung Marco, 2010. "New evidence about regional income divergence in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 293-309, June.
    22. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2010. "The Rural-Urban Divide in China: Income but Not Happiness?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 506-534.
    23. Kai‐yuen Tsui, 2007. "Forces Shaping China'S Interprovincial Inequality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(1), pages 60-92, March.
    24. John Knight & Li Shi & Deng Quheng, 2009. "Education and the Poverty Trap in Rural China: Setting the Trap," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(4), pages 311-332.
    25. Easterlin, Richard A. & Morgan, Robson & Switek, Maggie & Wang, Fei, 2013. "China's Life Satisfaction, 1990-2010," IZA Discussion Papers 7196, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Inégalités et croissance en Chine : les deux faces d’une même pièce ?
      by Martin Anota in D'un champ l'autre on 2015-04-03 04:03:35

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    Cited by:

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    2. Dautovic, Ernest & Hau, Harald & Huang, Yi, 2017. "The Consumption Response to Minimum Wages: Evidence from Chinese Households," CEPR Discussion Papers 12057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Satya Paul & Zhao Chen & Ming Lu, 2017. "Contribution of household income components to the level and rise of inequality in urban China," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 212-226, April.
    4. Huan Wang & Jingjing Tang & Sarah-Eve Dill & Jiusi Xiao & Matthew Boswell & Claire Cousineau & Scott Rozelle, 2022. "Bullying Victims in Rural Primary Schools: Prevalence, Correlates, and Consequences," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(2), pages 1-18, January.
    5. Bowles, Paul & Chang, Hongqin & Dong, Xiao-yuan, 2014. "Rural Economy Outcomes in China After Two Decades of Policy Reform," Review of Agrarian Studies, Foundation for Agrarian Studies, vol. 4(2), December.
    6. Zhang, Huafeng, 2017. "Opportunity or new poverty trap: Rural-urban education disparity and internal migration in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 112-124.
    7. Celine Bonnefond, 2014. "Growth Dynamics And Conditional Convergence Among Chinese Provinces: A Panel Data Investigation Using System Gmm Estimator," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 39(4), pages 1-25, December.
    8. John Knight, 2017. "China’s evolving inequality," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 307-323, October.
    9. Long, Zhiming & Herrera, Rémy, 2018. "Capital in the twenty-first century in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 153-174.
    10. K. J. Joseph & Liyan Zhang & Kiran Kumar Kakarlapudi, 2018. "The Dragon Turns around and the Elephant Moves Forward: Inequality in China and India under Globalization," Millennial Asia, , vol. 9(3), pages 235-261, December.
    11. Valerio Mendoza, Octasiano M., 2016. "Preferential policies and income inequality: Evidence from Special Economic Zones and Open Cities in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 228-240.

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    Keywords

    Rural Poverty Reduction; Inequality; Poverty Impact Evaluation; Services&Transfers to Poor; Labor Policies;
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