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The Great Chinese Inequality Turnaround (?)

Summary:
From Ravi Kanbur, Yue Wang, and Xiaobo Zhang: This paper argues that after a quarter century of sharp and sustained increase, Chinese inequality is now plateauing and, according to some measures, even declining. A number of papers have been harbingers of this conclusion, but this paper consolidates the literature indicating a turnaround, and provides empirical foundations for it. The argument is made using a range of data sources and a range of measures and perspectives on inequality. The evolution of inequality is further examined through decomposition by income source and population subgroup. Some preliminary explanations are provided for these trends in terms of shifts in policy and the structural transformation of the Chinese economy. We relate the turnaround to two classic phenomena

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From Ravi Kanbur, Yue Wang, and Xiaobo Zhang:

This paper argues that after a quarter century of sharp and sustained increase, Chinese inequality is now plateauing and, according to some measures, even declining. A number of papers have been harbingers of this conclusion, but this paper consolidates the literature indicating a turnaround, and provides empirical foundations for it. The argument is made using a range of data sources and a range of measures and perspectives on inequality. The evolution of inequality is further examined through decomposition by income source and population subgroup. Some preliminary explanations are provided for these trends in terms of shifts in policy and the structural transformation of the Chinese economy. We relate the turnaround to two classic phenomena in the development economics literature—the Lewis turning point and the Kuznets turning point. The plateauing is not yet a full blown decline, and there are short term variations. But the narrative on Chinese inequality now needs to accommodate the possibility of a turnaround in inequality, and to focus on the reasons for this turnaround.

Via the excellent Kevin Lewis.

The post The Great Chinese Inequality Turnaround (?) appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Tyler Cowen
Tyler Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He occupies the Holbert C. Harris Chair of economics as a professor at George Mason University and is co-author, with Alex Tabarrok, of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. Cowen and Tabarrok have also ventured into online education by starting Marginal Revolution University. He currently writes the "Economic Scene" column for the New York Times, and he also writes for such publications as The New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and the Wilson Quarterly.

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