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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.

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  • 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 & Song, Lina, 1999. "The Rural-Urban Divide: Economic Disparities and Interactions in China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293309.
    2. Knight, John & Ding, Sai, 2012. "China's Remarkable Economic Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199698691.
    3. John Knight & Linda Yueh, 2008. "The role of social capital in the labour market in China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(3), pages 389-414, July.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. LAU, Chi Keung Marco, 2010. "New evidence about regional income divergence in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 293-309, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Li, Chao & Gibson, John, 2013. "Rising Regional Inequality in China: Fact or Artifact?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 16-29.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    14. Xiaobo Zhang & Kevin Honglin Zhang, 2002. "Regional Inequality," Chapters,in: The Globalization of the Chinese Economy, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. 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.
    16. Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Does aggregation hide the harmful effects of inequality on growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 73-77, October.
    17. Fan, Shenggen & Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2008. "Regional Inequality In China: An Overview," Working Papers 51157, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    18. 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.
    19. Easterlin, Richard A. & Morgan, Robson & Switek, Malgorzata & Wang, Fei, 2013. "China's Life Satisfaction, 1990-2010," IZA Discussion Papers 7196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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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

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kanbur, Ravi & Wang, Yue & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2017. "The Great Chinese Inequality Turnaround," IZA Discussion Papers 10635, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1435-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Thomas Piketty & Li Yang & Gabriel Zucman, 2017. "Capital Accumulation, Private Property and Rising Inequality in China, 1978-2015," NBER Working Papers 23368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:bla:buecrs:v:68:y:2016:i:s1:p:146-170 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:bla:growch:v:48:y:2017:i:3:p:459-486 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.
    7. repec:eee:chieco:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:112-124 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Jiayuan Li, 2016. "Why Economic Growth did not Translate into Increased Happiness: Preliminary Results of a Multilevel Modeling of Happiness in China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 241-263, August.
    9. Thomas Piketty & Li Yang & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "Capital Accumulation, Private Property and Rising Inequality in China, 1978-2015," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2018-54, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Mar 2018.
    10. John Knight, 2015. "The Principal-Agent Problem, Economic Growth, Subjective Wellbeing and Social Instability: China’s Effective but Flawed Governance," Economics Series Working Papers 758, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

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