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From Equality of Deprivation to Disparity of Prosperity: The Poverty–Growth–Inequality Triangle in Post-reform China
2018-03-09 15:29:00

China & World Economy / 50–67, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2018


From Equality of Deprivation to Disparity of Prosperity:
The Poverty–Growth–Inequality Triangle in Post-reform China

Guanghua Wan, Chen Wang, Hua Yin, Yan Zhang*


Abstract

In the post-reform era, China achieved poverty reduction that was unprecedented in human history This poverty reduction was accompanied by fast growth and worsening income distribution. The present paper examines the poverty–growth–inequality triangle in China by: (i) providing growth, inequality and poverty profiles at the national and provincial levels; (ii) uncovering the contributions of growth and inequality changes to poverty reduction; and, finally, (iii) drawing lessons for other developing countries. Based on the World Bank’s definition of the poverty line, China has already eliminated abject poverty, even though the poverty rate was as high as 88.3 percent in 1981. The remarkable record in poverty reduction is predominantly attributable to growth. The effect of inequality varied in different periods. In addition, the impact of growth on poverty reduction is found to be diminishing over time, a phenomenon worth further research and policy attention.


Key words: China, income distribution, poverty-growth-inequality triangle
JEL codes: O1, P25, R1