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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

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    1. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1999. "The Rural-Urban Divide: Economic Disparities and Interactions in China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293309.
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    13. Li, Chao & Gibson, John, 2013. "Rising Regional Inequality in China: Fact or Artifact?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 16-29.
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    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Does aggregation hide the harmful effects of inequality on growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 73-77, October.
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    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:

    1. Thomas Piketty & Li Yang & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Capital Accumulation, Private Property, and Rising Inequality in China, 1978–2015," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(7), pages 2469-2496, July.
    2. Iwasa, Kazumichi & Zhao, Laixun, 2020. "Inequality and catching-up under decreasing marginal impatience," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 99-110.
    3. Wenli Cheng & Yongzheng Wu, 2017. "Understanding the Kuznets Process—An Empirical Investigation of Income Inequality in China: 1978–2011," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 134(2), pages 631-650, November.
    4. Zhang, Eagle & Andrew, Jane, 2016. "Rethinking China: Discourse, convergence and fair value accounting," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 1-21.
    5. Kanbur, Ravi & Wang, Yue & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2021. "The great Chinese inequality turnaround," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 467-482.
    6. Thomas Piketty & Li Yang & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Capital Accumulation, Private Property, and Rising Inequality in China, 1978–2015," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(7), pages 2469-2496, July.
    7. 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.
    8. Long, Zhiming & Herrera, Rémy, 2018. "Capital in the twenty-first century in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 153-174.
    9. Shi Li & Haiyuan Wan & Qinghai Li, 2018. "Top incomes in China: Data collection and the impact on income inequality," WIDER Working Paper Series 183, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Luigi Bonatti & Andrea Fracasso, 2016. "Modelling The Transition Towards The Renminbi'S Full Convertibility: Implications For China'S Growth," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(S1), pages 146-170, December.
    11. Jane Golley & Yixiao Zhou & Meiyan Wang, 2019. "Inequality of Opportunity in China's Labor Earnings: The Gender Dimension," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 27(1), pages 28-50, January.
    12. Peng Bin & Andrea Fracasso, 2017. "Regional Consumption Inequality in China: An Oaxaca-Blinder Decomposition at the Prefectural Level," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 459-486, September.
    13. Luo, Weixiang & Xie, Yu, 2020. "Economic growth, income inequality and life expectancy in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 256(C).
    14. Li, Qinghai & Li, Shi & Wan, Haiyuan, 2020. "Top incomes in China: Data collection and the impact on income inequality," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.

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    Keywords

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